I took Billy Straight to the cabin called Sidetrack recently. I intended to get some yard work done. However, the rain, 30-mph winds, and cold (45°) kept me inside. Instead of cleaning full time, I read.
Billy Straight is an 11-year-old street kid in LA who witnesses a murder in Griffith Park. Kellerman tells a story about the kid's background. He tells stories about the principals in the murder and stories about the cops (lots of cops) who are investigating.
All this took place in the shadow of the OJ Simpson trial, and since one of the suspects is a minor-league celebrity, there are political pressures on the cops of the LAPD.
Kellerman does a great job of telling all those stories. Keeping them coordinated while writing and editing must have been a complex task.
It's not until the very end of the book that Kellerman pulls out his magic wand to save the good guys with narrative sleight of hand. Then he lays it on thinkly by rewarding Billy Straight with promises of happily ever after and one of the lead detectives with hints about better things to come.
It was really needless. Two squares a day and a clean lower bunk would have been luxuries for Billy Straight.
So, I enjoyed reading most of this Kellerman book while the May "blizzard" raged outside the cabin. It was certainly preferable to finding a parka and doing yard work. I could have done more cleaning, but what fun would that have been?
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- Kellerman's web site on Billy Straight
- Sofrina Hinton's review of Billy Straight in Book Reporter
- Leslie Dunlap's review at The Mystery Reader