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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  153 reviews
In Punishment, his first novel since completing his Long Stretch trilogy, Scotiabank Giller-winner Linden MacIntyre brings us a powerful exploration of justice and vengeance, and the peril that ensues when passion replaces reason, in a small town shaken by a tragic death.

Forced to retire early from his job as a corrections officer in Kingston Penitentiary, Tony Breau has
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 22nd 2014 by Random House Canada
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Penny (Literary Hoarders)
Oh man!! Now what am I going to do?! I'm finished and it was fan-freaking-tastic!! I'm no longer going to be able to reach for this book -I finished it in a weekend. Everything has been left neglected and I just sat glued to these pages. You knew what could/was happening, but you had to, you had to sit and watch it all unfold in pure MacIntyre greatness. I'm his biggest fan. For certain. Excellent, excellent read. So many layers, so many things to think about... ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This past week the Canadian press - and Canadian communities - have been asking a lot of questions about crime and punishment. With the very public revelation of Jian Ghomeshi's criminal behaviour, the public conversation includes calls for criminal prosecution all the while enacting a sort of collective trial, sentencing and punishment in the press and social media. While listening and reading stories of his violent and repugnant behaviour, I was reading Linden MacIntyre's new book, Punishment. ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
My future appeared to me as a landscape suddenly revealed by the cresting of a hill. It wasn't grim but it was barren and it sprawled endlessly beyond the curve of the horizon. It was a scalding moment, delusions scoured from the surface of reality. Solitude and celibacy, I thought. And, I had to admit, under the alcoholic anesthetic, it didn't feel all that bad. Even if I reframed the words -- made them, say, abandonment and isolation -- they still described a kind of freedom. I remember stu
Paula Dembeck
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Linden MacIntyre is a well-known and distinguished broadcaster with a thirty-year career with the CBC. He became widely known as a writer when he won the 2009 Scotiabandk Giller Prize, Canada’s top literary award for his novel “The Bishop’s Man”. Since then, he has written several more best sellers which continue to showcase his strong writing skills.

This fictional story published in 2014, contains themes that emerge from the work MacIntyre has done as a journalist, his characters emerging loos
Shirley Schwartz
MacIntyre at the top of his game! This book was one of the best I've read in many a long year! The book is set in a small maritime Canadian town in and around 2001, The story is about a 55 year old man by the name of Tony Breau who returns home to the town where he grew up after an absence of 4 decades. Tony has suffered a lot of changes in his life. He has left his job of thirty years because of an incident that happened at the prison he was working in, and his wife of twenty years has left him ...more
Tina Siegel
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Linden MacIntyre is hit and miss for me. I loved The Bishop's Man, but only made it through a quarter of The Long Stretch before giving up.

This is a hit.

Anyone who's read MacIntyre's work will recognize Punishment - the setting, the light lilt in the dialogue, the outsized characters. But it's a recognition that thrills, like going home for Christmas and knowing that your drunk, unpredictable cousin will be there.

Tony Breau is a retired corrections officer. He was living in Kingston before a t
Linda Hopf
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
A page-turner with twists & turns, am I reading the same book everyone else is? 2 1/2 stars at best. I read 200+ pages and still didn't give a s&$t about Tony or the town. Go to the store, pick up papers, ignore the gossip, drop by to visit, go home, walk the dog, drink whiskey, watch the weather, go to bed, start over the next day. In the last 60 pages stuff unfolds but by then my heart is not in it. I did not care. ...more
Catherine Cronin
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Swystun
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Whether it be television investigative reporting or writing, Linden MacIntyre is a storyteller. Until happening across this novel, I was strangely unaware of his talents as an author. I enjoyed his reporting style for years but somehow missed the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel, The Bishop's Man. Other works include The Long Stretch, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, and the 2019 work of history, The Wake. He is a true maritimer, born in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, and raised in Por ...more
Ryan McKenna
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love any book that makes reference to the East Coast and this is no different. Set in Nova Scotia, this is a thriller that will have you turning pages non stop near the end. A few surprises in the last few pages as well.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It was a slow read for me, at first, and then the interest heightened.

Although I did not learn anything new from it it did make me think about different personal situations, the reality of them, etc.
For eg., Caddy and Tony's more romantic novels they may have fallen into each other's arms etc. In this novel it's not so simple. A whole life happened before they saw each other again. Lots of hurt feelings are still in the air, and other issues in their own lives to resolve.

I like
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Part of an interview by Atlantic Monthly, of Linden MacIntyre, November, 2014:

"The same moral imperatives and the same materialistic motivation applied to the large global situation in 2002-2003 in reality and the small microcosm situation that I imagined in a little place in the middle of nowhere, where there’s this notion that by eliminating a negative presence in a community, you have made the community safe and you have protected important values and principles. Even if in doing so you have
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
Punishement is told by Tony Breau (MacMillan), a recently retired prison officer. Tony was involved in quelling a prison riot at Kingston Penetentiary in 2000. He finds himself at odds with his colleagues but follows the directive of his superior as to when to intervene in the situation. As a result one of the prisoners dies and Tony again finds himself at odds when he tells the truth at the inquiry which follows. With his life in danger as much from the prisoners as from his now discredited sup ...more
Dale White
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is so much to like about this book.

Tony Breau, a corrections officer takes early retirement after telling the truth about an incident that results in the death of a prisoner. He heads back to the small community where he grew up. There he meets up with his teenage girlfriend, now a widow, whose granddaughter has died of a drug overdose in the house of Dwayne Strickland. Strickland also has returned home after spending many years in prison including one where Tony worked and tried to rehab
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canlit
MacIntyre's best book yet.

Draws interesting and unexpected parallels between the 2003 Iraq war, the infighting in small towns that often leads to outsiders being scapegoated, and the costs of being perceived as a bureaucratic whistleblower or prison rat.

His experience of hosting Canada's best investigative journalism TV program for twenty-four years pays off with his understanding of all the ways humans are fallible. Like a Jim Thompson novel set in Cape Breton.
William Falo
Dec 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I would give this fine book a 4.5. Excellent characters and plot. Would read more from this author without a doubt.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really high-class murder mystery. Enthralling--a page turner for sure. I found the characters very real and engaging.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Best of his books so far. Leaves you with lots to think about, especially when your reading group includes a judge.
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Well, as this book progresses, it becomes a real page turner. Loved it!!!
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating 4.5. I think this would make a good movie, though I have some friends who don’t like convoluted stories and lots of characters and they’ll hate it.
It’s the story of Tony Breau, formerly McMillan, his life and the small Newfoundland town where he grew up. It’s like many small towns, where most people are related and know everything about everyone and there are insiders and outsiders. Tony is adopted, so he’s part of each. He has a deep friendship with Caddy Stewart which is destroyed thro
Lynette Johnson
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This was one of those books that creeps up on you, and stays with you for a bit, after reading it.

Within the first 100 pages or so, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go on reading. As I'm sure my fellow readers agree, life is short so you don't want to waste it on a book you're not enjoying. However, I persevered and soon the characters grew on me.

I found it interesting that it was set in Canada, with a number of references to Ontario (where I live). This made it feel very real, and I always enjoy re
Joel Wentz
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a breezy page-turner in the vein of Gillian Flynn, with betrayals and twists aplenty in the third act. There's a lot to like here, but it was a bit uneven for me.

MacIntyre's writing is compelling, and I quite liked his non-linear style, as well as his snappy dialogue. Characters generally felt real and easy-to-relate-to. The overall thrust of the mystery, however, got very dull at times, and I felt like the first half of the book was entirely too long. The setting was hum-drum, and some
Amy Roebuck
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ann Hamm
I always wonder, when the esteemed Mr. MacIntyre publishes a new book, if he can possibly meet the standards he set for himself in his last work. He has never, ever disappointed.
He has been such an aware and intelligent observer of the human condition, both in his career in journalism and in his fiction--and in his life, I am sure-- that we feel certain the events and reactions he tells of have just happened TO HIM (or to a close loved one).
His hand as an author is so superb, that one book may c
Pam Foster
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Reading this was like watching a fire grow slowly from just a spark to glowing embers to licks of flame to a full-throated blaze.
The characters had depth; believable flaws and strengths and were played beautifully one against (and with) each other. The remoteness of the landscape/village, the cold of the winters, the loneliness of the houses provided an excellent foundation on which the plot unfolds.
But it was the constant undercurrent of something not right, something that was going wrong an
E.R. Yatscoff
Apr 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Literary books are reads I usually avoid because they are introspective bores. Very little happens until the last 60 pages. A good editor would have cut many sections especially the walking the dog, talking to the dog parts, etc. My wife said I'd like it. The only saving grace are the well drawn characters. This was a library book. ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A convoluted story with a lot of ruminations. A small east coast town and Kingston pens. Longtime grudges, secrets, betrayals. I never quite trusted our narrator, could never quite pin him down. Nobody is innocent, everyone is guilty of something. Everyone and everything is tainted. I wish the plot threads were fewer and less tenuous and had been wrapped up 50 pages earlier.
Karen Lowe
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book with so many layers. It examines crime, showing it in all its grey shades. All characters are flawed, no situation is straight forward, no action is simple. Masterfully presented, especially through the first person POV. Such human conflicts with human reactions to multiple situations ran through the tale.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-drive, 2020
The first part of the book is a 3 star but the second part is more of a 3.5. In the first 250 pages you are introduced to all the characters and their very complicated relationships to each other, both in their pasts and in the present. Once the trail starts the pace picks up and things get even more complicated. Enjoyed reading this one.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really good book about small towns on the east coast and how people's limited views can really affect others around them, and I think it captures something true about the lives of inmates and guards who were at Kingston. I did two tours of Kingston Pen with guides and it seems MacIntyre really tried to get a lot of things right.

A good story on top of all that.
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Linden MacIntyre is the co-host of the fifth estate and the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. His most recent book, a boyhood memoir called Causeway: A Passage from Innocence won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction.

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