Real Justice: A Police Mr. Big Sting Goes Wrong

The Story of Kyle Unger

by Richard Brignall

The tragic tale of a nineteen-year-old boy who was caught in an elaborate RCMP sting operation and falsely confessed to murder.

On the night of June 23, 1990, teenage friends Kyle Unger and John Beckett made a last-minute decision to attend a music festival near Roseisle, Manitoba. They were loners, not the popular kids at school. But on this night they seemed to finally fit in. They had fun, played games, drank, and hung around bonfires with other people. The next morning, a sixteen-year-old girl was dead. By the next week, Kyle was charged with her murder. Due to insufficient evidence he was let go, but the Mounties were convinced he was the killer.

They laid a trap, called the Mr. Big operation, for Kyle. With offers of money, friends, and a new criminal lifestyle, the RCMP got Kyle to confess to the murder. But the confession was false -- he had not been the killer. He was convicted and sent to prison.

For the next twenty years Kyle fought for his freedom. He was finally acquitted in 2009.

This book tells the story of an impressionable but innocent teenager who was wrongfully convicted based on the controversial Mr. Big police tactic.

[Fry reading level - 4.9

About the Author

Richard Brignall
RICHARD BRIGNALL has written ten non-fiction books for young readers and adults, and contributed hundreds of articles to magazines across Canada, including Cottage Life and Outdoor Canada. His books have been shortlisted for the Carol Shields Award, the Red Cedar Award, and the Golden Oak Award. He lives in Kenora, Ontario.


"As a high interest-easy reading book written at the 4th grade level, this title has many things to recommend it for leisure reading for struggling readers in middle school and high school . . . There is much here to engage teens in thinking about and discussing the actions of the teens that led to both the murder and the mistaken prosecution of Kyle Unger."
Holly Willett,, Educator at Rowan University
"[Blissfully easy to read. . . This would be a welcome book in our hi-lo collection. It has all the great elements: grit, true crime, a wrong made right, and unintimidating amount of pages."
Mandy Peterson,, Librarian at Schuyler Central High School
"Interesting read. It slammed home for me the importance of choices, consequences, and chance. This could be use in literature circles with struggling readers. I think it might spark lively discussions."
Judy Gottschalk,, Educator at White Salmon Schools, NetGalley Reviewer

Subjects (BISAC)


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