Friday, January 30, 2009

"Skinhead Central" by T. Jefferson Parker

From: The Blue Religion ed. Michael Connelly. Little Brown and Company, 2008.

This Edgar-nominated story is told from the viewpoint of Sally, who has moved with her retired cop husband Jim from Laguna Beach to Spring Lake, Idaho. Shortly after the move, a 19-year-old skinhead named Dale shows up looking for work. Jim begrudgingly gives him some, but when Sally's jewelry bag goes missing, it's easily traced to Dale. The next day, Dale's younger brother Jason returns the bag and takes a beating from Dale for his trouble.

Calling on a network of contacts stretching back to California, Jim learns that Dale and Jason's father is an abusive ex-con. Jim and Sally take an unusual interest in the boys' future.

"Skinhead Central" is written so crisply, in a voice so knowing, I read it aloud.

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