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Monday, 22 August 2016

‘Dodgers’ by Bill Beverley

Published by No Exit Press,
7 April 2016.
ISBN: 978 1 782271 70 3

This is a road novel with a twist – East is a teenager (14/15 years old) and running his own crew looking after a drug house for a Los Angeles drug gang run by Fin, a local drug baron. East’s half-brother, Ty, is a couple of years younger and neither he nor East has lived at home for some time. When East’s house is raided by the police, he is summoned to see Fin; he goes, thinking that he will be held responsible and is resigned to suffering the consequences, but Fin orders him, Ty and two other young men to go to Wisconsin to kill a judge due to give evidence against the gang. The oldest of the group is 20 and at least two of them have never left Los Angeles. The ill-matched quartet set out in a minivan and, as they travel further out into the landscape, the atmosphere inside the van becomes more tense and more claustrophobic. The plan goes awry, and though they manage to carry out the assignment, relationships sour and fracture. East shoots Ty, steals a car, abandons it and continues his journey on foot, until he eventually finds employment at a paintball range (no questions asked about his age). He works here until Perry, his employer, dies and Ty, now an integral part of Fin’s organisation, comes to take him back to the gang.

The language used and the pace of the storytelling weave an evocative picture of an American journey, supporting the story beautifully. This is an absorbing read - a debut novel well worth looking at.
Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood

Bill Beverly was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He studied literature and writing at Oberlin College. He then studied fiction ad pursued a Ph.D in American literature at the University of Florida. His research on criminal fugitives and the stories surrounding them became the book On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover's America. He lives with his wife and daughter in Maryland , and teaches American literature and writing at Trinity University in Washington, DC.
Photo: © Olive Beverly

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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