The Ambidextrist ). Bonded by their disdain of their super"/>
 

THE BEWILDERED

Peter Rock, Author
Peter Rock, Author . MacAdam/Cage $23 (303p) ISBN 978-1-59692-112-2
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-1-59692-179-5
Open Ebook - 978-1-59692-912-8
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Oddball teens and even odder adults people Rock's quietly mysterious latest novel (after 2001's The Ambidextrist ). Bonded by their disdain of their superficial peers, 15-year-olds Kayla, Chris and Leon spend their free time skateboarding along the gray Portland, Ore., streets and stripping copper wire from telephone poles. The latter activity they perform on behalf of a very peculiar woman named Natalie, who lives in a beat-up trailer and who sells the wire to a creepy guy named Chesterton. When Leon is badly shocked on one wire-hunting trip, the adolescent trio figure they ought to get to the bottom of the project; the book's first half follows them on their pursuit of Natalie as she reconnects with Steven, a colleague from her corporate past, and indulges her pastime of dressing up like a 1976 Playboy playmate. What they can't figure out is her obsession with electricity and copper wire. Leon begins to act strangely, and the plot takes a turn for the weird when Chesterton's experiments with the wire are revealed. Rock never quite establishes the lure of the experiments to the various secondary characters, and the novel as a whole lacks tightness. But Rock does a fine job fostering a sense of foreboding in his strange world of outsider's Portland, and each member of his ensemble cast has his or her own eccentric appeal. Agent, Ira Silverberg . (Apr.)

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