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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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Masterfully Kellerman

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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Another great story from Kellerman

I thoroughly enjoyed Billy Straight. I liked the way he tied it all together in the end.

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Even without Alex, the story was pure Kellerman.

The narrartor did an awsome job, each character was alive, & the story engrossing.

  • Overall
  • Emily
  • Eden Prairie, MN, United States
  • 08-25-10

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.

5 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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!