Dick Lehr

Book - 2017

Determined to clear her father of the wrongful conviction for a gang-related crossfire death, thirteen-year-old Trell persuades a reporter and a lawyer to investigate the case and uncover the truth.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Lehr Dick Checked In
Legal fiction (Literature)
Thrillers (Fiction)
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2017.
First edition
Physical Description
307 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Dick Lehr (author)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In precise, economical prose, former reporter Lehr (Black Mass) recounts a suspenseful story inspired by a case he investigated in the 1980s. Fourteen-year-old Trell Taylor was just a baby when her father, Romero, was wrongly convicted of murdering a 13-year-old girl. Since then, things have been difficult for Trell and her mother, but two important adults-Nora, a rookie attorney, and Clemens, a seasoned reporter for the Boston Globe-believe that there's a chance for Romero's release if they can gather evidence that his trial was unfair. Trell is determined to help, but finding proof of her father's innocence isn't easy when witnesses have disappeared over the years or are reluctant to speak out. Set in Boston's Roxbury district, the novel traces Trell's quest to find information, an arduous and dangerous search that uncovers some harsh truths about her father's criminal past and some disturbing facts about gang lords and police corruption. Without sugarcoating city violence, Lehr presents facts about the case in terms readers will understand while providing enough exciting discoveries and triumphs to offset Trell's disappointments. Ages 12-up. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-In 1990s Boston, 13-year-old Trell has spent every Sunday of her life traveling by bus to visit her father in prison. Though her father dealt drugs, he did not commit the murder for which he was convicted: in the late 1980s, a young girl was accidentally killed during a gang shooting. Only investigative journalism is able to cut through the layers of political expediency and police bias that led to the wrongful conviction. In the end, justice prevails, Trell's father is freed, and the real shooter is uncovered. Based on events involving the accidental shooting death of an African American girl, the crack-fueled gang culture of 1980s Boston, and the ensuing outrage, this book will resonate with today's teens. Trell is an appealingly gutsy heroine whose belief in her father is strong enough to drag an attorney and a down-on-his-luck journalist into her orbit. Ultimately, this title reads more like a middle grade novel than a teen one, with the heroine far more interested in her family relationships than in her friendships. Without hand-selling, this selection might get lost on YA shelves. VERDICT Younger YA readers will enjoy this fast-paced thriller.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

When Trell was a baby, her father was imprisoned for a high-profile murder in their gang-ridden Boston neighborhood. Now fourteen, whip-smart Trell works with a young lawyer and a cynical investigative reporter to overturn her father's conviction. Journalist Lehr's adult perspective permeates the voice of his young narrator, but the high-stakes fictionalized case--inspired by a true story--will keep crime-fiction fans interested. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

In a Boston swirling with racial tensions and public corruption, a story of false imprisonment based in fact, from a longtime investigative journalist.The case at hand: the murder of 13-year-old Ruby Graham, a casualty of gang warfare in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. "I know he didn't do it," says Van Trell Taylor, Romero Taylor's 14-year-old daughter. She cherishes the connection she is able to maintain with her father, imprisoned when she was just a baby, despite the overwhelming constraints placed by the prison system and a local media incentivized to paint him as a monster. The family reaches out to Nora Walsh, a white woman from the projects and an upstart criminal defense lawyer with a growing reputation for toughness. They must scrutinize the details and fight against public opinion in order to free an innocent man. Lehr covered the inspiring true story behind this one as a journalist and brings to light many of the important details not only of the case, but of the public conversation that surrounded Boston at the timeand does to this day; this important dialogue is still ongoing. Yet the seemingly omniscient perspective of this veteran white male journalist squeezed through the voice of young, black Van Trell Taylor leaves readers questioning who's really telling the story here. This tale of the fallout from the war on drugs recognizes one family's resolve as it hammers home the failures of public policy and the court system to uphold justice for all. (Historical fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.