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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 listeners say about Billy Straight

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

3 people 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.

1 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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    1 out of 5 stars

This is Terrible

I am a Kellerman fan and this is the worst book by him that I've read, and not just because it pre-dates Alex Delaware. There is very little character development in the way that makes the reader truly care about them. If this book were any dryer, it would spontaneously catch on fire. I have to DRAG myself to listen to it. It's been two months now and I'm only a little over halfway through it. I don't think I'll finish it. It is painful to listen to. I wonder how the publishers were able to get through it. BORING!!! If you absolutely must read this book, read it the old fashioned way because this narrator is horrible.

6 people found this helpful

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Wanted to like this book

I don’t know why I had so much trouble getting into this book. I really liked the main character - billy straight - and wanted to see things work out for him … I liked the detectives, the plot, the author - it had all of the elements I look for in a novel. Overall the narrator was ok but All the voices sounded the same and I couldn’t tell when he was moving on to the next character, or scene. I guess this is why I had trouble w this book.

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Fantastic

Wish he had written more Petra Conner books. She was a fabulous character who deserves a bigger platform

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Trite and predictable

I was hoping to find another good mystery series author and was very disappointed with this book. Every stereotype imaginable. Writing awful. Plot boring. Easily predictable.

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Raw and revealing view of unknown circumstances

Trek through the life and times of our vulnerable and unsuspecting youth in America.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!