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
    Feb 2006, 264 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

For much of Doug’s life it was a simple formula: Fuck up and learn about Uncle Russ.

But there were times, usually in early fall, when his father would get sentimental and make comments that told him more about his uncle. When Doug helped turn a triple play in a county-wide semi-final, his father, over the first beer he had ever bought his son, mumbled that he "looked a lot like Russell out there." And when he nailed thirty skeet in a row, he overheard his father say, "His uncle once got a hundred." Slowly Doug uncovered that, along with being responsible for most of the crimes in central Pennsylvania, Uncle Russ could have made it to the majors, was a decent horseman, taught himself to play the guitar, and would never turn his back on a friend. There were times that Doug felt his father looking at him out of the corner of his eye and he knew that something he had just done sparked a memory his father had thought he’d long forgotten.

Uncle Russ had died fifty years ago in Singapore—end of story. Doug learned never to push for details, not from his father or from his aunts or from his mother’s two brothers, who seemed to know more than anyone else, at least they said they did. "He wasn’t so bad," Uncle Carl would say, "your dad just never forgave him for running off the way he did. And five years later, when your folks got married, I think he hoped Russ would be there, do the Best Man thing, but of course that didn’t happen. That’s what your dad remembers." When Doug’s father died three years ago, Doug felt that they would tell him more about Uncle Russ, but it was as if his father’s last wish were that no one mention his brother again. And no one ever did.

And now someone he didn’t know from a foreign country he’d never been to was writing to tell him about an old friend, his uncle. And it was a woman.

"I knew your uncle for about ten years and I have a lot of great memories courtesy of Russell," the letter continued. "I also have a box of his things and I thought you may want them. If you’re interested.…"

He called the woman, Edna Bowers, in Toronto and made plans to come up that week. He had no place to be on Monday morning, unless sitting on the couch, flicking continuously through the same sixty-two cable channels, was a place to be. At first it was great to be home watching TV all day, but after two weeks of it Doug found the magic was wearing thin. He had added "hanging out at the mall" to his daily itinerary and that made things better, but even that was starting to seem sort of dull. And now the chance to take a few days off before he filed for unemployment and pretended to look for a job looked more interesting than staying home.

Mrs. Bowers sounded like a nice old lady—if she knew his Uncle Russ she had to at least be in her seventies—and of course there was that hope that he’d learn something new about the Pearce family Official Black Sheep.

Doug missed the turnoff, missed the exit, missed the right-hand turn and the second left, and had to drive up and down the street three times before he found the address, an ivy-covered brick building in the Rosedale area, just outside of downtown Toronto. A small brass nameplate by the door held the hand-printed names Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bowers.

When the door opened, Doug figured he had the wrong address. Dressed in the kind of suit he’d seen on network news women, and wearing her tin-colored hair in a short, almost boyish style, this women looked more like a flattering "where are they now?" shot of some Fifties movie starlet than anybody’s grandmother. He was ready to apologize and leave when she opened the door further.

"You must be Douglas," she said. "I’m Edna Bowers. I hope you were able to find the place alright, I can’t say I’ve ever given directions from Pottsville before."

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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.