Jonathan Kellerman Billy Straight

ISBN 13: 9780345413864

Billy Straight

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9780345413864: Billy Straight
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A resourceful runaway alone in the wilds of Los Angeles, twelve-year-old Billy Straight suddenly witnesses a brutal stabbing in Griffith Park. Fleeing into the night, Billy cannot shake the horrific memory of the savage violence, nor the pursuit of a cold-blooded killer. For wherever Billy turns—from Hollywood Boulevard to the boardwalks of Venice—he is haunted by the chuck chuck sound of a knife sinking into flesh. As LAPD homicide detective Petra Connor desperately searches for the murderer, as the media swarms mercilessly around the story, the vicious madman stalks closer to his prey. Only Petra can save Billy. But it will take all her cunning to uncover a child lost in a fierce urban labyrinth—where a killer seems right at home. . . .

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Review:

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

From the Back Cover:


"Jonathan Kellerman doesn't just write psychological thrillers--he owns the genre." --Detroit Free Press

"Often, mystery writers can either plot like devils or create believable characters. Kellerman stands out because he can do both. Masterfully."
--USA Today

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