Whistling In the Dark

( 81 )

Overview


It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors...

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend...

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Overview


It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors...

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she's next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

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Editorial Reviews

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Innocently wise and ultimately captivating.
Romantic Times
Kagen's debut novel sparkles with charm thanks to 10-year-old narrator Sally O'Malley, who draws readers into the story of her momentous summer in 1959. The author has an uncanny ability to visualize the world as seen by a precocious child in this unforgettable book.
The Chicago Tribune
One of the summer's hot reads.
The Capital Times
The plot is a humdinger...a certifiable Grade A summer read.
Milwaukee Magazine
Delightful...gritty and smart, profane and poetic.
Flamingnet
I loved Whistling in the Dark. It was a fabulous book. Living with the O'Malley sisters for the summer is an experience that no one will forget.
Publishers Weekly

The loss of innocence can be as dramatic as the loss of a parent or the discovery that what's perceived to be truth can actually be a big fat lie, as shown in Kagen's compassionate debut, a coming-of-age thriller set in Milwaukee during the summer of 1959. Ten-year-old Sally O'Malley fears that a child predator who has already murdered two girls, Junie Piaskowski and Sara Heinemann, will target her or her little sister, Troo, next. Sally's mom is in the hospital, while her big sister, Nell, is distracted by love and her stepdad, Hall, by the bottle, so who can save her if the killer is, as she suspects, her neighbor, David Rasmussen, a popular cop who has a photo of Junie hanging in his house? Though the mystery elements are sketchy, Kagen sharply depicts the vulnerability of children of any era. Sally, "a girl who wouldn't break a promise even if her life depended on it," makes an enchanting protagonist. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA
No matter what horrible things happen . . . you have to go on with your life with all the stick-to-itiveness that you can muster up. In just one summer, ten-year-old Sally and her sister Troo endure the arrest of their stepfather for murder, the mysterious illness that keeps their mother hospitalized for months, and the revelation that the man Sally loved as her Daddy, who was killed in a car accident, was not her real father. Sally's biological father is a policeman, whom she suspected of being the molester/murderer of two young girls and of having her on his hit list before learning the truth. When she finally realizes the identity of the killer, Sally almost becomes his victim. Kagen presents an authentic, endearing portrayal of life in a small 1950s, multicultural neighborhood where everyone knows everyone else's business-almost. Bullies are punished and kindness is rewarded. Sally is, at times, incredibly nanve and at other times loyal and understanding beyond her ten years. The characters of the children are unique and crafted with care but most adults are standard types who are either sympathetic or tough as the story line requires. Readers wanting to understand Sally and Troo's mother are given a vague personality whose questionable choices have a hurtful effect on her daughters. First-time author Kagen crams almost too much into this busy tale, as if feeling a need to include every plot thread possible. An insightful question-and-answer conversation with her is included as an epilogue. Reviewer: Pam Carlson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451221230
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/29/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 135,989
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.03 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesley Kagen

Lesley Kagen is an actress, voice-over talent, and restaurateur, as well as the author of two previous national bestselling novels. Whistling in the Dark has been translated into five languages and was a Midwest Choice Honor winner. Land of a Hundred Wonders, an Indie Next pick, was also nominated for a Midwest Choice Award. She lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

The morning Mother told us she was sick, Troo and me were just laying in the lime summer grass, smelling the bleach comin’ off the wash that jitterbugged on the line and getting ready to play that name game with her. “It’s important for you to understand who you’re dealing with so you can know what to expect from them,” Mother said, pulling another sheet out of the laundry basket. “You’ve got to remember that people are different in the city.”

How could we forget? She musta told us this over a gabillion times since we moved to the house on Vliet Street. We were a mother and her three girls. And I supposed I had to count Hall, because that would be the charitable thing to do. Hall was Mother’s husband. Her third husband.

Troo and me, we liked our own daddy better than Hall, but he died two summers ago after a car crash. He was on his way back home to the farm after a Milwaukee Braves game. Our uncle Paulie, who was riding shotgun, went through the windshield and got his brain damaged when he hit a fire hydrant so he had to go live with my Granny over on Fifty- ninth Street. Some man at his funeral called our daddy, Donny O’Malley, lush. I didn’t know what that meant so I looked it up the next day in that big dictionary they had over at the library. Lush is an adjective that means luxurious. That man was right. My daddy was lush. Stuffed with lushness. Like a chocolate cake with chocolate filling and chocolate frosting.

Mother shook out the wet white sheet and said, “And one of the ways you can know what to expect from somebody is by knowing what country they originally came from. Right? People’s last names can tell you just about everything you’ll ever need to know about them.”

Troo and me groaned because the name game was gettin’ kinda old and was about as much fun as a splinter under your thumbnail, but Mother, she loved this name game even better than Chinese checkers.

“I don’t have all day.” Mother gave us her do- you- smelldog- poop look, so Troo called out “Latour?” real quick.

Troo was gorgeous- looking. Red wavy hair that stopped at her shoulders and freckles across her nose only. And she had the kind of blue eyes that looked like the sky when it just woke up in the morning and hadn’t turned that blue jean color it got later on in the day. Troo was thin except at her lips, which were poofy and made her look a little pouty all the time, which was true some of the time. And she had long fi ngers, which were good for playing the secondhand piano we had in the living room. Mother thought pianos made a family look high- class. Granny told me that piano business was a little stuck- up of her daughter since Mother grew up in Milwaukee just a few streets down from where we lived now. Right across the street from the Feelin’ Good Cookie Factory, which was known far and wide for its chocolate chip cookies. (What Granny really said, because she was always sayin’ stuff like this, was, “Helen should know by now that she can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”)

Mother cupped her hand around her ear, so Troo yelled louder, “Latour?”

Helen and Troo. “Two peas in a pod,” Granny also always said. “Just look at ’em.”

I didn’t look like Troo. Or Mother. My eyes weren’t blue like theirs. Mine were green and they sat under eyebrows that were almost invisible to the naked eye but had some bulkiness to them. I was not as tall as Troo even though she was younger than me. I had long legs but small feet and hands because I was born a month early. And I had no freckles on my face. Not one. But I had been told once or twice that I had darling dimples and nice thick blonde hair that Mother and Nell got in an argument over every morning when they tried to put it into one fat braid that went down my back. Nell was my other sister. But only a half of one. Nell’s father was Mother’s first husband, who she told me died of smelling ammonia.

Mother answered, “Latour is French.” She took a little whiff of her wrist that I knew would smell like Evening in Paris, her favorite. “The French speak the language of love.”

Troo wasn’t even paying attention. She was lookin’ over at our next- door neighbor’s house and wondering if the stories we’d been hearing about the place were true. Because we were sisters born only ten months apart, which made us practically twins, her and me could have the mental telepathy that lets you read somebody else’s mind even if they don’t want you to, so I pretty much always knew what Troo was thinking. “Kenfield?” she hollered out.

“Kenfield is English,” Mother said. “They like to keep a stiff upper lip. That means they don’t like to show what they’re feeling.” She bent down to take another sheet out of the basket, and when she did her hair came undone from the white ribbon. I was always surprised by how long it was. And when the sun shined on it, even though it was red, you could see the gold hiding in it. I thought she was more beautiful than the movie star Maureen O’Hara. And so must the men on the block because they set their beer bottles down when she walked by and sometimes, if those beer bottles were all drunk up, they gave her a low wolf whistle she pretended not to hear.

Troo nudged me with her elbow and started giggling. “O’Malley.”

Mother shook her finger and said, “Troo O’Malley, being silly never got anybody anywhere in life.” But the corners of her mouth went up just a smidge to let us know that we were better than everybody else and not just potato heads or micks, as the kids on the block who were Italian and Polish and German liked to call us. We called them wops (loud, but great cooks) and Polacks (not so smart) and bohunks (thick- ankled), so I figured it all came out in the wash.

Somebody down the block yelled, “Ollie, Ollie, oxen free,” and Little Richard singing “Tutti Frutti” drifted by out of a car radio. That’s how it was on Vliet Street. Something lively was always going on. Except for dead Junie Piaskowski, who everyone on the block said was murdered and molested. Sara Heinemann hadn’t been murdered and molested yet when Mother fastened the last clothespin on the line and said, “O’Malley sisters, come over here. I have something to tell you.”

Of course, I let Troo sit next to Mother on the stone bench near the pink peony flowers that were falling all over themselves because I made my daddy a couple of promises before he died. And if there is one thing you’re gonna get to know about me, it’s that I was a girl who wouldn’t break a promise even if her life depended on it.

Right when the sun was going behind the trees, Daddy made everybody else go out of the hospital room and asked me to come lie down next to him in his bed that he could make go up and down whenever he wanted.

“Sally?” He had all these tubes coming out of him. And next to him was a machine that ping ping pinged just like the submarine in that movie Troo and me had seen at the Uptown Theater called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

“Yes, Daddy?” He didn’t look so much like himself anymore. His face was swelled up and he had cuts around his mouth and bits of blood that didn’t seem to wash off. Also he had a big purple circle bruise from the steering wheel going into his chest. Something had collapsed in there, the old nurse said. “You need to take care of Troo,” Daddy said ever so quietly. His usually fluffy red- as- a-pile- of- fall- leaves hair came into points on his forehead. “You need to promise me that.”

I patted his hand that felt smooth because the old nurse had just put some cream on it. “I promise. I’ll take care of Troo. Cross my heart. But I gotta tell you something really important, I’m—”

“You have to tell Troo for me that it’s okay,” Daddy interrupted. “Tell her the crash wasn’t her fault.”

Troo was in the hospital too, down the hall from Daddy, because she was also in the car when it ran into that big elm tree on Holly Road. Since she was sitting in the backseat, she didn’t get as hurt as Daddy or Uncle Paulie. She just got a broken arm that ached sometimes now before it was gonna rain.

Daddy took in a breath like it was the hardest thing he’d ever done, and when he let it out he said, “And tell your mother that I forgive her for what she did. Promise?” Then he started coughing some more and a little pink spit came up onto his lips. “I’ll be watching, Sally. Remember . . . things can happen when you least expect them so you always gotta be prepared. And pay attention to the details. The de vil is in the details.” Then Daddy went to sleep for a minute but woke up again and said, “And Nell is not the worst big sister in the world. There are one or two that’re worse.”

The old nurse came back into the room then and said Daddy was either delirious or hilarious. I couldn’t quite catch it because she had a funny way of talking.

Troo’s fault that Daddy was in the hospital? How could all this be Troo’s fault? Troo couldn’t drive a car, she was only seven years old! Oh, Daddy. And I had no idea what he wanted to forgive Mother for and why he couldn’t tell her himself, but maybe it was because she was crazy with grief like the doctor said.

Even though Daddy had fallen asleep, I whispered, “Roger, wilco and out.” That’s how we always said good- bye to each other. Just like Penny said good- bye to her uncle Sky King when he was up in the clear blue of the western sky in his plane the Songbird. Daddy and me just adored that TV show, watched it together every single Saturday morning because Daddy was a pilot, too.

And then the old nurse said, “Visiting hours are over.” “But I gotta…,” I tried to say, but she shook her head in a way that I knew there’d be no gettin’ around. What I wanted to tell him would have to wait until tomorrow. I put my hand on his whiskery chin and turned his face toward mine so I could give him a butterfly kiss on his cheek, because that was his absolute favorite, and then an Eskimo kiss on his nose because that was my absolute favorite.

Daddy’s funeral was three days after I made him those promises. I never did get to tell him I was sorry.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 81 )
Rating Distribution

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(53)

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(20)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    POWERFUL!

    This is a wonderful story and a teaching guide, in story form, for children and parents as a preventative measure. Kagen explores the uncomfortable subject matter,that of predators preying on innocent children, with warmth and wit, to create this heartwarming, endearing story. Expertly written from a child's point of view, the characters are real, believable and charming. A POWERFUL PIECE OF WORK! You will live this story, as I did and find yourself chuckling one minute and wiping tears from your eyes the next. JUST BEAUTIFUL!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

    It's 1959, and in ten short years Sally O'Malley has had a very busy life, both real and imagined. Two years ago her daddy died in a car accident and left Sally, her mother, her little sister, Troo, and her older half-sister, Nell. Shortly after her daddy died, Sally and family moved into the city of Milwaukee from their farm. It wasn't long before her mother met Hall and he became her third husband. Now her mother is sick and has to go to the hospital, and nobody knows how long she'll be gone. Nell is too busy with her boyfriend to pay much attention to her younger sisters. Hall is taking his solace in alcohol and other women. Which leaves Sally to take care of Troo. Since she promised Daddy she would look after her, that's exactly what she intends to do.<BR/><BR/>It's pretty hard to watch, take care of, and try to raise a little girl when you're still one yourself. Especially when you're on the loose for a whole summer and you don't know where your next bath, much less next meal, is going to come from. Add in the rumors of a serial killer who's after children... Between their real problems and Sally's overactive imagination, this summer will be anything but dull. Making it through the summer is only the beginning.<BR/><BR/>This a book with so many different levels. It's the story of a girl who is forced to take the first step away from childhood. It's the story of a damaged family. It's the story of women who don't know their own strength. It's a story of the underlying terror of a murderer, and at the same time a story of freedom. It's a story of a simpler time. Underneath all of that, it is the story of a city.<BR/><BR/>The characters in this novel are strong and well-written. The plot is interesting, and takes more than a few surprising twists and turns. The story is actually extremely plausible for the time frame, back when people didn't lock their doors and neighborhoods took care of their own. <BR/><BR/>The part that touched me the most though was the amazing ability with which Ms. Kagen has managed to evoke the feeling of the time and place. I grew up in Milwaukee (I swear I had no idea), granted it was a few decades later, but the feeling was almost exactly the same. I don't know how else to explain it, but reading this book felt like going home.<BR/><BR/>A multi-layered book that more than delivers on all levels. For me, it was worth it the first time, and will continue to be so again and again.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting

    In 1959 in Milwaukee ten years old Sally O'Malley believes that a child killer is coming for her and her younger sister Troo. She believes she has no one to keep her or Troo safe as their dad is dead, their mom is in the hospital, their stepfather is an alcoholic, and their older sister Nell is too involved with her boyfriend. Sally also feels that their neighbor police officer David Rasmussen killed Junie Piaskowski and Sara Heinemann because he has a picture of the former on his wall.-------------- As she had vowed to her daddy on his deathbed, she will protect Troo at all costs. If that means dying the frightened courageous Sally knows a promise is a promise. She and Troo begin their own brand of preadolescent investigation with the objective to prevent David from killing them. Sally will learn the truth, but it is a bigger shocker than if the cop was a homicidal pedophile.--------------- This investigative historical thriller is more a cautionary coming of age tale than an amateur sleuth pedophile serial killer chiller as the mystery is at best loose and used more to enable readers to better understand what Sally and Troo are thinking. Sally makes the story line work as an every child in any time period vulnerable to predators. She needs to keep her deathbed vow to her daddy even if it means her death. Readers will obtain a feel for Milwaukee when the baseball Braves still played there, but it is the cleverly developed warning that children think differently that makes Lesley Kagen¿s tale a fine read.------------------ Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    BEAUTIFULLY DONE!!!

    This is a beautiful story weaving the uncomfortable predators, preying on innocent children, subject matter with warmth and wit to serve as a powerful tool to educate. This is powerful, wonderful, heartwarming, endearing and charming!!!! There aren't enough stars for this one, in my book!!!! A must read for all!!!!

    I also recommend, ROSEFLOWER CREEK, by J.L. Mills and EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by Linda Masemore Pirrung....two more winners that deserve more than 5 stars!!!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    What an amazing read!

    This novel pulls on your heartstrings and teases your mind all at the same time. Kagen did a miraculous job of interlacing heart-felt moments with heart-pounding mystery!! I truly identified with so many of the characters. I laughed and I cried. This is a that you can't put down, but still try to pace yourself so that it never ends. If her debut was this good, I can't wait to see what Kagen comes up with next!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    WHISTLING IN THE DARK Lesley Kagen

    I absolutely adored this book. It is te story of every hometown in USA. The characters are very well developed and extremely recognizable. I found myself putting childhood friends faces to the various characters. OMG Sally O'Malley could have been me!! Even though this is a murder mystery/child molestation story, it is handled veery nicely -- not gory or erotic. I could not stop reading even when it was 3 AM. I have recommended this book to all of my friends.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing, wonderful, special read!

    This amazing, wonderful, endearing story will tug at your heart and the plot will keep your mind reeling until the last page. The plot is grave, but the author manages to weave enough wit, warmth, and great spirit into this story to make it an uplifting and emotional read.

    Set in 1959, in Milwaukee, the story follows two tough little girls, the O'Malley girls, through an unpromising summer. Their mother is in the hospital fighting for her life. Their step-father has abandoned them for booze and another woman and their older sister is too wrapped up in her boyfriend and her teenage life to take care of them properly. The neighborhood is no longer safe, not after two young girls were found murdered after being sexually molested. Sally is convinced she's going to be his third victim.

    There is so much more than this. I was enthralled all the way through with this delightful, moving, poignant book! Don't miss it!

    Other wonderful books that left a HUGE impression on me: ROSEFLOWER CREEK, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME, REDEEMING LOVE.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Whistling in the Dark

    I found it particularly interesting how the title was referenced with that said, it is a nickname, as most of the characters have in this story and how each name came to be is not given right out the gate and you had to wait patiently throughout the book as they were reveled, if at all? With such a mass of books and titles out there why did I choose this one? First, I was cleaning my room and saw 2 book titles written on the back of a small piece of scrap paper from quite some time ago. Second, it was on our past book club selection list. The way I see it if it's on the list even if unpicked it must be good and as with this one I just open the book and begin to read without any idea what the book is about. This can have its pro's and con's. I was hugely amused right away by the era and the setting. All the places the girls visited I knew of, I could place myself on that exact street as I grew up and lived there as well so I would get excited when she would reference specific things that I either long forgotten about or is no longer there. As with time, this taking place in the 50's, so does change. not just in our surroundings but how we live our lives today. This book really made me think and the whole time I'm reading waiting for the story to either start, pick up, move on, get to the point in which I needed to remind my self of patience. These girls demonstrated great patience and bravery with every curve ball thrown at them. You did what needed to be done back then and there. You had to stand up for yourself as no one was going to do it for you and that displays confidence, self esteem. I bet those girls grew up and became doctors, lawyers etc. anything they set their mind to. I must run along now as the street lights just came on so I need to go in the house and get ready for bed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    Brilliant

    My mom gave me this book sometime ago and I finally found it in the bottom of a drawer. Started reading just out of bordem one day and instantly fell in love. From the beginning the author has instantly drawn you into her characters and into the story. A friend of mine saw me reading it one day and decided to buy it to read along with me, then another friend and another...we all loved the book and it has brought us to start our own book club! I still daydream sometimes of Sally and Troo O'malley and what they went through and how they prevailed. Again such a great book. Can't wait to read more by this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    In the Child's Viewpoint

    The most interesting and fun part of this book was that it was written in a child's point of view. Sally O'Malley is a very clever and smart child who sometimes gets things a little mixed up. Since the book is written in a young girl's voice, you find yourself trying to outwit her. You think so many of her perceptions are not quite right. And, you second guess her. She manages to put herself into precarious situations and you worry about her. She is delightful! She keeps you reading! It was so hard to put this one down! I enjoyed every page! Some of the slang she uses is not always politically correct, but, if you were a child of the 50's or 60's you remember hearing the same slang when you were younger. And, she is never mean or degrading and loves everyone for the most part. And, the people she doesn't like are just not very likeable. This was a fun reminder of a different time when things seemed simpler...more black and white with much less grey. And, I have to say, I grew up in a big city and I know that even though people say that there was not as much danger when we were growing up they are just plain wrong! I remember some really scary things happening in our neighborhood. Sally and her friends have a very scary summer and Sally is just the person to tell about their experiences.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The characters stayed with me

    Several days after finishing Lesley Kagen's fine first novel I'm still thinking about the people in it. She did a good job of creating interesting and memorable, if not totally believable, characters. <BR/><BR/>Troo and Sally, the two pre-adolescent girls at the heart of the story, are colorful and conniving, which is a nice departure from the sweetness and innocence we see far too often in coming-of-age fictional females. <BR/><BR/>Ethel is clearly the author's favorite (my paperback copy includes an interview with Kagen in which she says as much), and it's hard not to develop a strong affection for her. A woman in her situation, in the segregated Milwaukee of 1959, would probably not talk and behave as she does. It's unlikely an adult would be that open about sharing family secrets with neighborhood children. She's just not believable here. Neither is Dave, the cop. He's just a little too good. But they are both important to the story, and I found myself rooting for them despite myself.<BR/><BR/>As others have mentioned here, there are some nice details about mid-century Milwaukee that will bring back memories for a lot of readers Vliet Street, the Braves, Lake Michigan, and the Milwaukee County Zoo are all lovingly depicted. Samson the gorilla was a huge draw, definitely the zoo's most fascinating attraction throughout my childhood, and Sally's affection for him is totally deserved. <BR/><BR/>I found myself really bothered, however, by the fact that Samson's name was spelled incorrectly (as "Sampson") throughout the novel. Why did the author do this? Was it because of some copyright concern? Or was it simply a case of editorial neglect? If so, someone didn't do their homework. It undermines my respect for an otherwise promising author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Gotta Love the O'malley Sisters!

    I really enjoyed reading this story told from a child's perspective. While in the background there is a child molester and murderer loose, there is also every day life that these children are facing. Parts of the book are sad, however the narrator makes you laugh out loud several times. I enjoyed how every bad smell was somehow compared to Dr. Sullivan's breath and the letter that Sally wrote to Hall near the end of the book was priceless!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    wonderful book!

    I really enjoyed this book. It was very easy to read and you couldn't help being drawn into this book. The book was about two sisters, Sally and Troo. The story is told by Sally, a character I really learned to love and her little sister. At times the book was sad and I felt so sorry for the two sisters but then by the time the book ended it had the kind of ending that I liked. I have never read this author before, and would gladly read another one of her books. I would highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Great Summer Reading!

    This book was a unanimous favorite in a group that seldom agrees about the books read! Not being from the Milwaukee area, we found the characters, neighborhood descriptions and plots to be universally appealing and believable to all. We loved Sally, Troo and Ethel's characters!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2007

    Whodunnit

    This is a sweet story about 2 young sisters who survive a rough summer on their own, while their mother is hospitalized with hepatitis, and their drunken stepfather spirals out of control. All of this happens at the same time that a murdering child molester strikes in their neighborhood. The author does an amazing job of bringing this neighborhood to life--by the time the book ended, I felt like I lived on their block! The story also is an excellent mystery, that keeps you guessing until the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2007

    I Could NOT put it down!

    This is a standout novel for a first time author. This book captivated me and I am passing around my copy to all I know. I could hear Sally in my mind as I read the book, that is how well she develops this character.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    WOW!

    What an enchanting read! The characters, especially ten year old, Sally, 'the narrator', and her sister, Troo, were so endearing. This book is laugh 'til you cry funny, poignant, sad and supportive. The characters predicament is unpredictable and the plot is deceptively complex. One of the best debuts I've ever read. Ms. Kagen is destined for greatness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    When is your next book coming out!!

    I have to say that I love to read and this book is awesome!! I live in New York and on my commute to work this is what I do, read. I'm just not able to put this book down. I've missed my stop on the train two times because of this book!! I didn't mind, I had more time to read. Love the character Sally, she is adorable. Can't wait for your next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    Well written, loved the characters.

    I really enjoyed reading this, the characters were fun and easy to get involved with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2014

    This sopme good stuff you know. Got some deep stuff in it. Reall

    This sopme good stuff you know. Got some deep stuff in it. Really good plot twist in it. I really enjoyed the characters and everything in it. You didn't really know the characters from the beginning. And throughout the story the author revealed different things about each character and I really liked that.

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