In the spring of 1964, troubled teenager Cookie Blue is found dead in the Red River.Blue Vengeance follows her younger brother Danny and Cookie's friend Janine through a lazy Winnipeg summer, as they plot to kill the despised teacher they blame for Cookie's death. Danny's father is long gone, and his mother suffers from a debilitating medical condition. Her illness and self-medicated state free Danny from certain constraints traditionally put upon a young teenager by a parent...like committing murder.
Alison Preston was born and raised in Winnipeg. After trying on a number of other Canadian cities, she returned to her hometown, where she currently resides. All of her books are set in the Norwood Flats area of Winnipeg, including The Rain Barrel Baby, The Geranium Girls, Cherry Bites, Sunny Dreams, The Girl in the Wall, and Blue Vengeance. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, and a letter carrier for twenty-eight years, Alison was twice nominated for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer, following the publications of her first two novels, The Rain Barrel Baby and A Blue and Golden Year. Alison went on to win the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher for Sunny Dreams and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction for The Girl in the Wall. She was also shortlisted for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award for Cherry Bites.
One of the men in charge of lowering the casket started up an electrical device that hummed. Reverend Badger paused in his droning. The casket, on its canvas bands, was lowered into the earth.The reverend went back to where he had left off. "The days of our age are three score and ten.""Fool," Danny said quietly now. Only a ceritfied idiot would include that line under the circumstances. The guy was certifiable. However long three score and ten was. It didn't apply to Cookie. She was fifteen years old. And would be forever.Dot squeezed his arm.The rain kept on, snaking down the sides of the shining wooden container that housed his sister. When they had picked it out at the funeral parlour Danny had thought it looked like a miniature palace furnished in satin and sparkles, but now he could see that it was just wood after all, and it wouldn't be shiny once it was in the ground. It would dull and wet and soon rotten."For Christ's sake," he said now. "Fill the hole around her."There were no shovels in sight. A small yellow machine stood a ways off, partially hidden behind a tree. It looked as though it may have been responsible for digging the hole; perhaps it also had the job of filling it in. Danny got down on his kness and began to push the piled dirt into the space around the casket."Danny, please." It was his mother's voice.He didn't care.
Alison Preston relates her seventh novel from the point of view of a boy in his early teens—and she nails it. In fact, the charm of this engaging book comes from our being able to see not only the boy’s daily adjustment to his sister’s recent death and his mother’s sickly ineptitude, but also the way his need for revenge on his sister’s behalf clashes with his own sexual awakening.