Dodgers – Bill Beverly

DodgersBeverly’s debut novel takes you on a dark ride across America as a young teen discovers there is more to life than he has ever known.

Fifteen year old East has spent his whole life in an area of Los Angeles known as the boxes. He stands yard for one of his uncles several crack houses located in the boxes.  He is good at what he does, recruits a good team of lookouts, and has run a successful operation for the last couple of years.  Then one day, a neighborhood fire distracts the lookouts and the vice squad shows up to shut down the house.  Since East is in charge of the yard, it is his fault and he fears the worst.  After a discussion with his uncle, East agrees to take on a new task to travel across America to assassinate a federal judge that has the potential to lock his uncle away for several years.  A team of four is selected for the task including East and his estranged brother Ty.  Once the team has accomplished their mission, East must decide to return to the life he has always known or to continue to find something new in the American Midwest.

While perusing through new releases of authors, Dodgers showed up as a book that I might enjoy.  After reading the synopsis, I was intrigued and decided to give it a try.  The cover originally made me think that this was set in the past, but it is actually in present day which just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The entire story is told from the viewpoint of East. As a reader, I got to see some glimpse into how some drug rings are operated, which was definitely different from what I typically read.  What was most interesting was the apparent yearning East had for an actual father figure.  He didn’t ever know his own dad, but he got taken under his uncle’s wing at the age of nine and started learning the drug trade.  Later in the story when he got to Ohio, Perry became the father figure for him.  I got to see his transformation in work ethic and how the two people from opposite ends of the spectrum earned each other’s trust.  This is a problem that is huge across all parts of American and Beverly captured it without even calling it out.

For a debut novel, this was very well written and very enjoyable. It was written with a prose that keep me interested through the entire book.  Even though there is some violence, it is not very graphic.  There is some strong language, but that is to be expected in the dialogue that the characters would use based on their backgrounds.  Even so, I would still recommend this book to mature readers.  I will be looking forward to see what his sophomore novel will bring!


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