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Charlie's father is dead, and although his mother insists he stay in school, Charlie has no patience for the classroom. All he wants is to make money, to give his mother and baby brother a better life. So when he catches the eye of Squizzy Taylor, a notorious mobster, and is offered a job as Squizzy's courier, it doesn't take Charlie long to accept—even if he has to go against his own mother's wishes.
At first, the job's a thrill—running with messages, illegal liquor, whatever Squizzy orders. It fills Charlie with power. But then come the not-so-savory parts of the job. Collecting Squizzy's debts. Dodging Squizzy's enemies. The very real dangers of the streets. And at some point Charlie has to ask himself—how long before running for a better life means cutting his life short?
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Robert Newton has published several other young adult novels in Australia. He is a full-time firefighter, and lives in Melbourne with his wife and two daughters.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5–8—Charlie Feehan, 16, stuffs the holes in his boots with newspaper and runs through the streets of Melbourne, in 1919, to escape the cold and sadness in his mother's tiny flat since his father died. When the city's most notorious gangster, Squizzy Taylor, offers the teen a paying job as a runner, he secretly quits school and takes to the streets, delivering illegal liquor and collecting money for his boss. Vowing to surprise his mother with money to ease her burden, Charlie ignores obvious dangers. Teamed up with "Nostrils," he cowardly runs away from a gang one night, leaving the boy behind to be brutally beaten. Shaken, Charlie quits the illegal running and listens to his neighbor Mr. Redmond, who offers to train him to run for a purse in the Bellarat footraces. Betting his ill-gotten gains on himself, Charlie wins and uses the money to help Nostrils, who is now on crutches. Rich dialogue in Australian dialect creates a colorful picture of the historical urban setting, suspenseful plot, and warm characterizations. Minor figures are as well developed as the protagonist, and readers will enjoy Nostrils and his football-obsessed father, Charlie's budding romance with the baker's daughter, and the flamboyant Squizzy and his motherly girlfriend. Add this one to adventure collections or bibliographies about Prohibition.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
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Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0375837442 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0375837442ZN
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0375837442
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0375837442