Rule Number One

Labor agitators, crime bosses, thieves, hijackers, abusive fathers, terrorists, drug lords, prostitutes, crooked politicians, hillbillies, fallen nuns and priests, itinerant musicians…these are the people who populate Chris Cahill’s young life.

His grandfather is “Boss” Colin Sullivan, a self-styled 1960s Robin Hood.  Little of anything legal or illegal goes on in the 42nd precinct without his knowledge or approval.  Christopher’s father, Rory Cahill is Boss Sully’s hulking chief lieutenant, more comfortable enforcing his authority on his women and children than his crews.  Christopher’s older brother, Liam, has convinced himself Chris is responsible for the death of their mother, and is determined to make him suffer for it, though the cause of her death had nothing to do with his birth.  Rather, it was her injuries from either jumping from her bedroom window, or being pushed, that caused his early delivery.

In a moribund mill town fractured by racial and religious tensions, Chris discovers the first rule of survival: run away.  His best friend becomes a farm girl who has a completely different idea of what running away means.

Too soon, though, the protective bastions Boss Sully has spent his life to build come crashing down at the hands of a fickle Rory Cahill, forcing Chris to battle for his own independence rather than accept a life of institutions and foster homes so he can discover the fate of his missing friend.


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