Caught is the second novel by Canadian writer, Lisa Moore. The book was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2013. Last year, the CBC announced Caught would be adapted into a TV series starring Allan Hawco from Republic of Doyle.
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
David Slaney breaks out of a Newfoundland jail and begins a risky journey across Canada to be reunited with his childhood best friend and partner-in-crime, Hearn. Four years ago, Slaney and Hearn were caught trying to smuggle marijuana into the country. Hearn skipped bail, disappearing and Slaney went to jail. Now Slaney is going to help Hearn with one final job by travelling to Colombia and then attempting once again to smuggle thousands of pounds of pot into Newfoundland. As he makes the journey, Slaney has a number of obscure encounters with strangers along the way. Many are helpful, but who can Slaney really trust? Hearn. Slaney implicitly trusts Hearn. Meanwhile, Detective Patterson is on his trail with an obsessive need to catch Slaney and Hearn and put them away for good. Is this jig up before it even started?
Caught is an intoxicating story with all of the complexity and depth of a literary novel, but also the adventure and suspense of a thriller. The uniqueness of the story took me completely by surprise. I fell a little in love with tender-hearted Slaney even though I constantly shook my head and wrung my hands watching him repeat his mistakes. He’s a good boy who can’t help being naughty.
I found Detective Patterson to be the weak link in the story, as it was never clear why he passionately despised Slaney and Hearn because I’m sure there were bigger fish to fry in the crime world. I couldn’t really absorb his character’s back story and easily became confused when he referred to something from his life outside of the manhunt for Slaney.
From the bays of Newfoundland to the exotic beaches of Columbia, Caught satisfied me on so many levels. It’s about a manhunt, but who is this man? Why does he trust one person over so many others? But Slaney was a character I came to respect because he was thoughtful and even-tempered. And it’s probably safe to say I may have been a little attracted to him. I spent a lot of time holding my breath not only because I was afraid he would be busted, but because he often seemed on the verge of changing direction (which in my heart I wanted him to do). Reviews said Caught is a fast-paced read, but I found it’s the kind of book I had take in slowly and savour to understand everything that was said, as much as what I had to read between the lines. I can’t wait to see how they adapt it into a TV show!