Billy Straight

by Jonathan Kellerman

Reviewed by Coral

Like the Butcher's Theatre this Kellerman novel is not a part of the Alex Delaware series. Instead, it is Petra Conner - introduced, I believe, in Survival of the Fittest - who is the story's protagonist. There really wasn't a lot of her the last time out for me to get any kind of sense of her character, so I went in with an open mind.

A runaway, Billy Straight, witnesses a woman's brutal murder, the same murder that Petra Connor has just been charged with investigating. Only problem is that the woman is the tabloid-talking, abused ex-wife of TV star Cart Ramsey. With the media frenzy mounting, that there may have been a child witness is blared across the airwaves, sending a killer on Billy's trail while Petra tries to save Billy and stop a cold-blooded killer.

I hated Petra from the first few lines of her first chapter, where she's mourning her empty womb. Yes, Kellerman, we all know the "women are desperate for babies" stereotype, can't you think of something different or original for your character?

Only thing worse than a pathetic stereotypical character is an annoying precocious child, like Billy. There's just too much of him in this book and, frankly, I couldn't care less about him.

Just as an aside, how realistic is it that a street prostitute has perfectly white teeth?

It's like Kellerman is making up for his too-complicated Delaware mysteries by giving us only two suspects. Only thing is, with only two suspects the story is kind of boring. There is a happy medium between overly complicated and boringly simple; now all he has to do is find it.


Grade: F