Dodgers by Bill Beverly | LJ Review

51HxoHs1kIL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200___1460747320_97302redstarBeverly, Bill. Dodgers. Crown. Apr. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101903735. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781101903742. F
With characterizations recalling the best of George Pelecanos, this debut novel by Beverly (American literature, Trinity Univ.; On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover’s America) follows the coming-of-age story of East, a young Los Angeles gang lookout who is sent on a road trip with three others to kill a witness in Wisconsin. This is not the usual road trip narrative; each of the four young men could easily carry their own book, but East, a smart and sympathetic narrator, propels the story with his internal assessments of his cohorts and their situation. An unexpected turn in the latter third of the novel brings the focus more squarely on East, who has never been out of L.A. and begins to examine the possibilities that are available to him beyond his urban life as well as the reality of being a young black man in a predominantly white Midwest America. VERDICT Fans of HBO’s The Wire and Richard Price novels will be engaged by the book’s themes of race, identity, and the U.S. class system.—Julie Elliott, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend

This review was published in Library Journal’s April 15, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35 percent off the regular subscription rate.