A young girl is found dead in the woods, and there are no clear suspects. The local chief of police is under pressure to produce a suspect and he picks on Jason, a shy 12-year-old friend of the girl, who was the last to see her alive. The police call in a detective who’s had a high degree of success in extracting confessions by questioning and he interrogates the boy who merely believes himself to be a useful witness.
A surprisingly readable book, dealing in a play-like way with the difficulties faced by the interrogator as he tries to live up to his past successes, even when he suspects that the boy is entirely innocent. The actions of the policemen in trying to extract a confession from an impressionable boy without even charging him with an offence are certainly reprehensible. This is made worse when the interrogator realises that the boy is innocent, but continues to pressure him into admitting something he did not do.
Tim Golden is a computer programmer living in London. He is also the editor of the Good-to-Read website.