Billy Straight

A Novel
Narrated by: Alexander Adams
Series: Petra Connor, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (209 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 listener one of the most endearing and finely drawn characters in contemporar 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.

©1998 Jonathan Kellerman (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

"The writing is vivid, the suspense sustained, and [he] has arranged one final, exquisitely surprising plot twist to confound the complacent reader." ( People)
"Taut, compelling....Everything a thriller ought to be. The writing is excellent. The plotting is superior. The characters ring true." ( USA Today)
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Masterfully Kellerman

WOW! Kellerman can really weave a compelling plot! Best ever even after reading 28 Alex Deleware books.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Billy straight

Billy is a character of depth and promise. This
Could easily have fostered a trilogy. And some fierce editing.

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5 stars

awesome book, by an awesome author, read by an awesome narrator! I will never get tired of the Kellerman books being read by Alexander Adams! it's a great combo! I found this book after listening to all of the Alex Delaware series that had Adams narrating. I tried to listen to the books in that series that were read by another narrator but I couldn't focus on the story with a different voice. I was very thankful to find this one

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love it

A really good read. the narrator! was able to understand every word. I am hard of hearing. so a good narrator keeps me listening.

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Rambling story, too much introspective narrative

Really struggled to listen 9nly because I wanted to figure out the seemingly unrelated characters and how they come together. This could have been 4 hours shorter.

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Great Story Line

This was a great story. Having read all of Alex Delaware novels I looked for something else by Kellerman. I am going to download the next one in the series. Narration was mediocre.

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the perfect book.

I can say this is my favorite Jonathan k. book so far. (only 2 books left). It has it all...great narrator, twisting plot, character development & an ending that you don't see coming but pulls it's all together. Didn't want to stop listening.

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Excellent narration

The usual excellent tale by Jonathon Kellerman. The narrator Alexander Adams is outstanding. One of the few that inspires me to listen to other books he's reading.

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excellent read<br />loved it. want more Petra and Bill

well structured suspenseful. totally engrossing. Love the characters,storyline and suspense. I want more Petra stories

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The best!

Of all the JK books I've read, this is, by far, my favorite. Besides the character Billy, Petra Connor is fascinating and a well-rounded personality. More, please!

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  • Sophie
  • 04-28-11

Fast-paced and moving

There are a lot of Jonathan Kellerman's books living on one of my bookshelves and Billy Straight is one of them. By mistake I bought it also as an audio book, but I wasn't sorry I did after listening! The story comes even more to life and the characters, like in most books by Jonathan Kellerman, are very convincing. The story is written with much empathy and compassion. I was very moved by the way Billy tried to survive on the streets.
The narrator voice however lacked a bit of colour, so it was sometimes not easy to distinguish during dialogues who was talking to whom. But overall a very good listen indeed!