MLA Gold Award Site

Excerpt from Relative Danger by Charles Benoit, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Relative Danger

by Charles Benoit

Relative Danger
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2004, 340 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2006, 264 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


For the two days that the murder was a topic at the Long Bar, patrons joked that while Russ and Charley had not painted the town red, they did a fine job painting Danny Wu’s room.

Chapter 2

Twenty kilometers outside of Toronto, Douglas Pearce reflected on his first visit to a foreign country.

Three hours earlier he had crossed the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and passed through the security check without the guard so much as asking him if he was an escaped felon or weapons smuggler. No passport, no visas, no "papers, please"—just "have a nice visit." Not that he was an escaped felon or a weapons smuggler, but he was disappointed they didn’t even ask.

Douglas Pearce had left his home outside Pottsville, Pennsylvania; earlier that morning and, other than having to ask for directions three times, he had had little trouble. So far this international travel thing was all right by Doug.

There was that confusion about the speed limit, and it took him a frantic ten minutes to figure out that "Speed Limit 100" meant 100 kilometers an hour. He managed to get his Ford pickup to a truck-shaking ninety before he realized his mistake. Still, the Canadians seemed to treat the speed limit as a mere suggestion and, even at ninety miles an hour, he was passed on both sides.

From what he could tell, Canada seemed a lot like the U.S. True, he had only traveled through a small part of it, but then he hadn’t seen much of the U.S. either. He knew a fair piece of central Pennsylvania, bits of western New York State, and most of the area around the Massaweipi Boy Scout Camp in West Virginia; where he had spent six days when he was a kid. Most everything he had ever seen looked a lot like central Pennsylvania, just sometimes not as hilly.

He worked at the Odenbach Brewery in Pottsville, or he had until four weeks ago when, for no reason he could figure, he was laid off. Sure, he’d been late now and then, and he took home an occasional six-pack, but so did everyone else. He wasn’t the worst employee they had, in fact he was probably better than most. But old man Odenbach had called him in, told him foreign investors were phasing out his position, and gave him a check for a thousand bucks. In the eighteen years he had worked there it was only the third time the old man had talked to him—one of those times he had mistaken Doug for someone else. And the grand surprised him, too. The Odenbach family was not noted for giving their employees any more than they deserved, and Doug couldn’t figure out any reason why he’d deserved it. Doug had replayed his meeting with the old man dozens of times and it still didn’t make sense.

Really, he thought, nothing in my life has made sense since I got that letter.

"Dear Mr. Pearce," it read. "You don’t know me but I was a friend of your Uncle Russell."

Uncle Russ. Crazy Uncle Russ. Wild Uncle Russ. Dead Uncle Russ.

No one in the family talked about him, none of the adults who knew him anyway. The only time Doug even heard his name was when he was listening in on late-night whispered conversations in the kitchen. And all he knew about Uncle Russ was what he could piece together from his own screw-ups. When he was caught cheating on an algebra exam, and when the cops busted him for drinking beer in the park, his father warned that if he didn’t straighten up he’d end up "just like my lousy brother." Caught smoking cigarettes, "that’s how Russell started out." Totaled his first car, "you’re no better than he was." A black eye from a barfly, "God, how can there be two in one family?"

Thanks to these comparisons, exaggerated and obscure, Doug was able to determine that Uncle Russ drank whiskey from a hip flask, smoked unfiltered Camels, caught the clap from a prostitute in Philadelphia, was busted out of an unnamed branch of the service, was a reckless driver, and would cheat at cards if he thought he could get away with it. He never wrote, he never visited, and he died in Singapore.

From Relative Danger by Charles Benoit (Chapters 1 & 2, pages 1-16). Copyright Charles Benoit 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: City of Secrets
    City of Secrets
    by Stewart O'Nan
    In his new novel, City of Secrets, Stewart O'Nan spins a tale of espionage and intrigue as ...
  • Book Jacket: The Atomic Weight of Love
    The Atomic Weight of Love
    by Elizabeth Church
    A prologue set in 2011 introduces readers to this novel's unforgettable narrator. Meridian ...
  • Book Jacket: Murder at the 42nd Street Library
    Murder at the 42nd Street Library
    by Con Lehane
    It doesn't matter if you're stopping in your favorite library to quickly pick up a book, or settling...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Alaskan Laundry
    by Brendan Jones

    A fresh debut novel about a young woman who moves to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Who Said...

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Greek T M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.