Juice Worth the Squeeze

Kathleen Murdock

Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon’s Shadow of Doubt: The Trials of Dennis Oland, Revised and Expanded Edition (Goose Lane) details the 211 murder of Richard Oland, multimillionaire heir of the Moosehead brewing family. Someone bludgeoned him to death in his Saint John office, and his son Dennis—the last known person to see him alive—became the prime suspect. Dennis lived in a mansion with a manicured lawn in an elite Saint John neighbourhood (in a province with a high unemployment and poverty rate). Despite his charmed life, Dennis had major debt and a strained relationship with his father. He also owned a jacket that was found after the murder with traces of both blood and his father’s DNA. Somehow, as a west coast university student with no cable, I didn’t hear a thing about the murder at the time, but reading Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon’s coverage of Dennis Oland’s trial made me feel like an expert on the case. MacKinnon offers such skilful and precise detail that I felt like a ghost haunting the investigation; I surveyed the crime scene, watched the drama unfold in the courtroom, and accompanied forensic detectives in analyzing blood splatter (a phrase that appears at least fifty times throughout the book—lots of blood splatter). Shadow of Doubt blends no-nonsense reporting and storytelling, making its 4-plus pages easy to devour. With a multimillionaire victim, an ungrateful son, an anger-filled affair and alleged police misconduct, it doesn’t get much juicier than that.

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