cover image Redhanded


Michael Cadnum / Author, D. Brodie / Editor Viking Children's

This psychological portrait of an amateur boxer contains as many dark ironies as Cadnum's earlier thrillers (Heat; Edge), but the narrative here is marred by thick foreshadowing and uneven pacing. Narrator Steven lays out his vulnerabilities right away. His ""temporarily"" separated parents will probably never get back together, and his best friend, Raymond, has started hanging out with a juvenile delinquent named Chad. To make matters worse, Steven loses his job as a dishwasher. The only thing that Steven can count on is his ability to box, although he needs money as well as prowess in order to compete. Predictably, when Steven is given a chance to enter the Golden Gloves West Coast tournament in San Diego (costing $600 in travel expenses and entry fees), he lets Raymond and Chad lead him into crime. But the boys' plan to rob a liquor store goes awry, and Steven finds himself involved in the most profound fight of his life. Readers, especially those familiar with the author's other works, may be too aware of the hand guiding characters' actions to be able to lose themselves in the plot. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)