May 2010

A suspenseful family tale

By Peter Abrahams
Review by
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Times are bad for 17-year-old Wyatt Lathem. All extracurricular activities at East Canton High have been cut due to the poor economy, so Wyatt’s baseball season is over before it begins. His coach advises Wyatt to get out—out of the school, out of the town—since there’s no future there, a move made more urgent by a violent clash between Wyatt and his volatile stepfather.

What Wyatt really wants to do is put his life in order, like those nicely aligned bullet points on his English teacher’s blackboard. So, after the fight, he heads to Silver City to live with his Aunt Hildy. Right off the bat, he meets sexy and mysterious Greer, a 19-year-old girl with a reputation; soon they are sleeping together, and Wyatt doesn’t quite seem to realize he’s in over his head.

It turns out that Wyatt and Greer have quite a bit in common. Their stepfathers are both jerks, and their fathers are both inmates at the nearby prison. Greer’s father is in for committing arson, Wyatt’s dad for murder. Greer says her father thinks Wyatt’s is innocent, and when Wyatt begins getting phone calls from his father, after years of hearing nothing from him, a plan begins to percolate: He will help his father escape and prove his innocence.

It’s fitting that Wyatt Lathem’s last name is an anagram for Hamlet: His father has been a ghostly presence in his life, and he is about to look into his father’s past to become the stuff of tragedy. By the end of the tale, no lives are left unaffected. Death looms, but so does reconciliation in this thrilling tale of family, bad decisions conceived with earnest good intentions, love and hope. Abrahams devises his tale meticulously, creating a believable teenaged protagonist with the right mix of earnestness, innocence and naiveté. Like the Shakespearean tragedy that lends it an undertone of menace, this tale quickens its pace as the players come together to take their fated roles, and Wyatt is forever changed by it all.


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Bullet Point

Bullet Point

By Peter Abrahams
ISBN 9780061227691

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