Date: Mar 28, 2017
On a steamy summer day in 1977, Emanuel Jacques, a young boy from the Azores, is shining shoes in downtown Toronto. Surrounded by the strip clubs, bars and body rub parlours of Yonge Street, Emanuel is lured away from his friends by a man who promises easy money. Fours days later, the boy’s body is discovered. He has been brutally raped and murdered, and “Toronto the Good” will never be the same.
Just blocks away, another Portuguese boy, twelve-year-old Antonio Rebelo prizes his life of freedom and adventure. While his parents work double shifts, he and his best friends, Manny and Ricky, spend their days on their bikes exploring the labyrinth of longways that links their neighbourhood to the rest of the city. They race across garages, flying from one rooftop to the next. Together, they are invincible. But as the details of Emanuel’s death expose Toronto’s seedier underbelly, the boys are pulled into an adult worlds of danger and cruelty, secrets and lies even closer to home.
At the centre of it all, a seductive stranger, James, who arrives in their laneway the week of the murder and stays there in the months that follow. He is a few years older than the boys, and his offers of trust and responsibility make them feel mature and important. James has spent most of his life fending for himself, surviving on his wits and talent for zeroing in on people’s vulnerabilities. He soon finds ways to exploit the boys’ weaknesses and to prey on the sadness, fear and anger that lie just beneath the surface of their friendship…
Written by Anthony de Sa