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Kellerman isn't just an Edgar Award-winning thriller writer, he's a prominent child psychologist, and it shows in Billy Straight. The hero is a 12-year-old runaway whose sharp mind and straitlaced moral sense make him fit to survive the lurid jungles of Hollywood. One night hiding in Griffith Park, Billy witnesses the butchering of Lisa Ramsey, the cokehead ex-wife of Cart Ramsey, a crummy actor-golfer once busted for pummeling Lisa. Did Cart knife Lisa, or was it his pathetic old football sidekick Greg Balch?
When O.J. was on trial, Kellerman said, "This wouldn't make a good novel," but some of Kellerman's toughest critics say this funhouse-mirror version of an O.J.-like case is his best, better than his famous Alex Delaware series. Psychologist Dr. Delaware has a bit part here, but the heroine is Detective Petra Connor, his distaff equivalent. Kellerman's main strength is his vivid invention of secondary characters and his skill at juggling subplots. When Petra's media-whore boss puts Billy's police sketch in the paper with a $25,000 reward, two marvelously sub-simian bounty hunters join the chase: a vicious Russian ex-cop and the vile biker boyfriend of Billy's stoned-out, trailer-park mom.
Like the kid hero of Russell Banks's Rule of the Bone, Billy enriches his author's customary milieu by viewing it from a new, low angle. The tale is more taut than Kellerman's 1997 bestseller Survival of the Fittest and more riveting than the O.J. case--the cops are smart and justice has a prayer. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Although this is only the second of Kellerman's 14 novels not to feature psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware (the first was Butcher's Theater, 1988), it has all the author's familiar strengths: a broad cast of well-defined characters, a fast-moving plot and themes sponged from the daily news yet turned fresh. (And Delaware makes a brief appearance at the end.) Twelve-year-old Billy Straight, a precocious homeless kid with a taste for reading, flees Los Angeles in terror after witnessing a murder in Griffith Park. The homicide inquiry is headed by Petra Connor, a determined, intuitive detective, and her partner, Stu Bishop, who is distracted by a family tragedy. The murder victim turns out to be Lisa Ramsey, ex-wife of the famous, and abusive, Cart Ramsey, who plays a private eye on a late-night television series. Kellerman does a fine job revealing how memories of the Simpson case shadow the Ramsey investigation, affecting the ways Petra and Stu are allowed to go about their work. The search for Billy by the cops and several villains forces a comparison with John Grisham's The Client, but Kellerman's novel is far more complex, switching points of view among a multitude of characters and amid a series of distinctive subplots. By the dramatic climax, Kellerman has pushed a number of familiar buttons?but with enough panache and surprises to satisfy his most demanding fans.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What a great story about the resilience of a young boy and his attempt to survive against overwhelming odds. Best Kellerman mystery yet.Published 1 month ago by Judy
Entertaining all the way thru. Will definitely read the second of the 2 book series.Published 2 months ago by fatcatdealssports
This novel moves along quicker than some of Kellerman's Alex Delaware novels, which tend to get bogged down in too many long scenes and details that disrupt the momentum. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Professor
Several times the book seemed familiar to me. I kept thinking maybe I had read it many years ago. Did not matter. Stilled really enjoyed the books with twists and turns. Read morePublished 5 months ago by S lynn
Another great story by Kellerman. A young runaway boy witnesses a murder in Griffith Park. As it becomes apparent there might be a witness to the murder, the police hunt for him... Read morePublished 5 months ago by lady lily jeep