cover image Favorite Sons

Favorite Sons

Robin Yocum. Arcade, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61145-004-0

The shadow of a youthful mistake hovers over an ambitious prosecutor in this middling first novel from former crime reporter Yocum (Dead Before Deadline). In 1971, in the small Ohio town of Crystalton, 15-year-old Hutchinson Van Buren and a group of friends encounter violent, developmentally disabled 17-year-old Petey Sanchez. When Sanchez attacks one of them, Adrian Nash, with a tree branch, Nash lashes out with a maul, killing his assailant. The boys panic and flee the scene, scared of the repercussions if they tell the authorities the truth. The ethical implications of their silence become even trickier when a convicted child molester is charged with the murder. Most of the book is set in 2004, when Van Buren, the chief prosecutor for Summit County, is running for state attorney general and is confronted with a blackmailer who knows the truth about Sanchez's death. Van Buren isn't a distinctive enough lead to make readers care much whether he prevails or not. (June)