184 pages
ISBN 978-0-88899-704-3
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Christina Pike

Christina Pike is a member of the Evaluation Division, Department of
Education, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.


James Heneghan takes on several issues in Payback. Charley Callaghan and his family have moved to North Vancouver from Dublin, Ireland. In Charley’s words, though, this novel is not about himself but about Benny Mason, and so Charley tries to fade into the background.


Benny is a boy in Charley’s class who is being bullied and ends up killing himself. Knowing that he could have made a difference by simply speaking up, Charley is driven to befriend Benny’s family, and in the end save their lives.


Heneghan has created a story that asks what we really know about a person. At times, the novel seems to have too many issues as one story is intertwined with another. Heneghan may be working too hard at making the pieces all fit. Recommended.


Heneghan, James., “Payback.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 18, 2024,