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Billy Straight (1998)

de Jonathan Kellerman

Sèrie: Petra Connor (1)

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1,4011610,155 (3.61)15
Twelve-year-old Billy Straight is caught in a twilight world of violence and evil where he must rely on his wits and his moral courage as he tries to survive on L.A.'s meanest streets after witnessing a murder.
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Billy is 12 and lives in a trailer park in Watson, California - a small town, north from LA. He had never known his father and his mother had made all kinds of bad choices, including the latest man she decided to live with - a man who amused himself by abusing and hitting Billy to the point where the boy decides that he had had enough and runs away. When the novel opens and we meet Billy, he had been in LA for 4 months and had found a way to survive. Until the night he sees a woman being killed anyway.

The murder is in the Hollywood division and get assigned to Petra Connor (who we met in "Survival of the Fittest") and her senior partner Stu Bishop. The boy is long gone by the time the police shows up so it takes awhile for them to realize that they have a witness, let alone who he is. The victim is Lisa Ramsey, the ex-wife of a famous TV actor - and nothing in her death adds up.

Stu Bishop is unusually distracted so Petra ends up doing most of the work. With the victim belonging to the famous and powerful set, the investigation soon gets out from the division and other detectives need to be pulled in. Clues and details pile up, things get more and more complicated when people start disappearing before the police can talk to them. And somewhere in there, the target is painted on Billy (because Petra's superiors are more concerned with image than with his well-being). He is already running but that adds an additional layer to it.

Kellerman uses a double POV here - Billy in the first for half of the chapters, Petra in the third for most of the rest plus a few non-POV chapters to get us some details that neither of the two see (plus a few killer's chapters). There is a very limited number of people who could have done it but it is a throwaway line in the thoughts of the killer very late in the novel that finally let us know who the killer really is - a few pages before Petra discovers it (and a few hours after Stu start having suspicions that the story they think they know is not what it seems).

As much as the murder and its consequences are the base of the novel, Billy and Petra are as important and we get a lot of background on both of them - some of it heartbreaking (most of it in Billy's story), some of it just moving. And somewhere in all that ugliness, there is also love and laughter, people who do good just because they can and family reunions and drama (with all they entail). But there are also villains - some of them comically stupid, especially if they are compared with the main villain.

Milo Sturgis is name-checked by Petra a few times, Alex Delaware shows up in the last chapter to help Billy. It is a good start of a new series but if anyone expects a less gory series than the main Delaware series, that won't work for them. ( )
1 vota AnnieMod | Aug 17, 2021 |
runaway witness to brutal murder
  ritaer | Jul 11, 2021 |
Jonathan Kellerman, Amerikas führender Autor von psychologischer Spannung, webt eine Geschichte von Unschuld, städtischer Verderbtheit und der Widerstandsfähigkeit des menschlichen Geistes und erweckt die Bemühungen eines Straßenkindes zum Leben, angesichts des unsäglichen Übels zu überleben.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
I still miss Milo in the books by Kellerman... But this time the story was written from police point of view in stead of Delawere's. That's okay too. Liked the story, its many story lines and the action overall. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 23, 2017 |
One of Kellerman's few novels not focusing on forensic psychologist Alex Delaware, this one tells the story of a bright runaway boy who witnesses a brutal murder. Well-written and suspenseful, with adequate character development. But not up to the caliber of his Delaware books. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Sep 14, 2015 |
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Twelve-year-old Billy Straight is caught in a twilight world of violence and evil where he must rely on his wits and his moral courage as he tries to survive on L.A.'s meanest streets after witnessing a murder.

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Mitjana: (3.61)
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