Contributing FactorsRonnie Doucette was not a likeable guy. Anyone he’d stolen a car from, girlfriends he’d cheated on, or victims of his brutal beatings could be forgiven for not shedding a tear upon hearing he’d been murdered. ‘He had it coming,’ they might say. Fair enough. But the devil-may-care macho young man portrayed to the outside world conflicts with the inner turmoil Ronnie can’t manage to shake since harbouring a dark secret he discovers at age fourteen.

When Ronnie’s first romantic interest drowns in a submerged car under suspicious circumstances, he alone knows a respected community member had a hand in the ‘accident’. Embarrassed by the circumstances under which he gained this knowledge he keeps his mouth shut. Many more poor choices follow.

Frustrated and angry after the funeral, he and his best friend Scott, the dead girl’s brother, commit a break and enter as a way to finance their planned new life in western Canada. The smash and grab goes sideways, leading them not to face a judge, but to become employees of racketeer Billy ‘Fingers’ Matheson.

While Scott deals with his frustrations about reluctantly working for a criminal organization in small town Nova Scotia by developing a serious gambling habit, Ronnie appears to embrace the gangster
lifestyle. Boosting cars, breaking bones, and boinking bimbos keeps him busy enough that the inner shame only surfaces during rare moments of quiet self examination.

Only after being expected to perform a most unpalatable task, and seeing no escape from both flesh and blood and psychological enemies that stalk him, does Ronnie ‘man up’. In a final heroic act he at the
same time atones for his sins, serves the ultimate penance, and extracts revenge upon those who contributed to his sordid life and violent death.


Uniquely framed as an autobiography that is sent by the murder victim to the medical examiner who will perform his autopsy, Contributing Factors contains elements of a murder mystery in the sense that Ronnie’s killer and other guilty parties aren’t revealed until the end. Ultimately though, this genre bending story told from a criminal’s perspective is a reflection on the often destructive power
secrets hold over us, a study of friendship, and a classic tale of redemption.


To obtain a free copy of the novel (you pay shipping costs only) please contact the author at: beatonmj@yahoo.com

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