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    Review of OLD SCORES by Scott Mackay

    St. Martin's Minotaur, September 2003

    Toronto Detective Barry Gilbert is called to an apparent homicide while at a play with his wife. The victim, Glen Boyd, was a rock promoter, drug addict, and all-around bad person. He is also someone Barry knew well--the man once had an affair with Barry's wife. Despite the apparent conflict, which Barry minimizes, and evidence that Barry's wife may be involved in the murder, Barry insists on keeping the case until he is finally yanked from it, his career at risk. Besides Barry's wife, there are plenty of suspects--Glen managed to make enemies of his former associates, and his current drug dealers. When the police discover that Boyd had renewed his association with Barry's wife, things look grim indeed.

    The crisis is deepened by an at-home crisis. Barry's teenaged daughter learns that her former lover has AIDS. Now the family must gather around and wait to learn if that deadly disease has been transmitted.

    Author Scott Mackay's writing is professional and engaging. OLD SCORES is an easy book to pick up and read all the way through. I found, however, that Mackay missed some chances to fully engage the reader's emotion. The threat to Barry's wife never seemed real--the police told Barry that they were certain she was innocent and Barry never really lost faith. Mackay would have strengthened his story by increasing this risk. An ideal opportunity would have been to tie the daughter's possible AIDS infection in with Glen's drug-rape tendencies. Indeed, I kept waiting for Mackay to deliver this final blow to Barry and the reader and found myself let down when he simply ignored all of the setup.

    Mackay is an engaging and capable writer and Barry Gilbert makes an interesting character. OLD SCORES is a good book that I can recommend without hesitation, even while feeling that Mackay missed some chances to make it even better.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/08/03

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