BILLY STRAIGHT.

Kellerman, Jonathan.

ISBN 10: 0679459596 / ISBN 13: 9780679459590
Published by New York: Random House, 1998. dj
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. A thriller featuring psychologist sleuth Alex Delaware. SIGNED on the title page by the author. Very near fine in a like dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 26269

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Bibliographic Details

Title: BILLY STRAIGHT.

Publisher: New York: Random House, 1998. dj

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In this riveting, astute, high-tension thriller, the creator of psychologist sleuth Alex Delaware weaves a Dickensian tale of innocence, urban depravity, and the resilience of the human spirit, and brings to the page one of the most endearing and finely drawn characters in contemporary  fiction.
        
Twelve-year-old Billy Straight--precocious, heartbreakingly perceptive, relentlessly moral--has fled the chaos and abuse of his life at home and is fighting to survive on L.A.'s meanest streets. All alone, Billy has fashioned a precarious existence for himself, using principled tricks to nourish his body and his mind. Late one night he watches from his hiding place as a man viciously butchers a woman. The victim turns out to be the ex-wife of a television celebrity with a history of domestic violence, and Billy becomes the center of terrifying attention--from the media, from violent bounty hunters, and from the murderer himself. As he runs for his life, relying on his native wit and instincts for survival, Billy is also tracked by a potential savior: Petra Connor, a tough, gifted, beautiful LAPD homicide detective with a past of her own.
        
Breathtakingly paced, Billy Straight  brings to life one street kid's efforts to survive in the face of unspeakable evil. Richly layered, emotionally compelling, and peopled by a vivid cast of supporting characters--including Alex Delaware himself in a strong cameo role--this gripping novel represents one of the century's great story-tellers at the top of his form.

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

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