Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger.
It is the story of a young LA gang member named East, who is sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys—including East's hothead younger brother—to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he's never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, ultimately forcing him to grapple with his place in the world and decide what kind of man he wants to become.
Written in stark and unforgettable prose and featuring an array of surprising and memorable characters rendered with empathy and wit, Dodgers heralds the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.
Winner of the LA TIMES Book Prize of 2017 for Best Mystery/Thriller
Winner of the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger 2016 for Best Crime Novel of the Year
Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger 2016 for Best Debut Crime Novel
Winner of the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award
Finalist for the PEN/Heminghway Award 2017 for Debut Fiction
Longlisted for Andrew Carnegie Medal 2017 for Excellence in Fiction
Nominated for the Edgar Award 2017 for Best First Novel
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We barely came up for air, tearing through this exceptional crime thriller about four young black men dispatched from Los Angeles to Wisconsin to kill a key witness in a drug trial. Bill Beverly is an exceptionally talented writer, capable of careening from harrowing depictions of urban poverty to witty, stylized bad-guy banter. Part coming-of-age story, part darkly comic road trip, Dodgers is a gut-wrenching ride, largely because we cared so deeply for Beverly’s clever, introverted protagonist, East.
Beverly (On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover's America) makes his fiction debut with a dazzling crime novel that's equal parts coming-of-age tale la Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and travelogue la Kerouac. East, a 15-year old gang member from South L.A., sets out for Wisconsin with three other teenage boys at the behest of his uncle, on a mission to kill a key witness in an upcoming trial. Along for the ride is East's brother, Ty, an emotionless killer at 13. The revelations experienced by the young men as they drive cross-country through America's heartland are life changing, and in some cases, life ending. The narrative is simultaneously coldhearted and lyrical. For example, the dark, abandoned houses in a neighborhood known as the Boxes are described as "a row of loose teeth," and planes flash "like blades" in the morning sky. Readers won't soon forget East and his bloody journey of self-discovery and, ultimately, salvation.
Gritty, Raw, and Dark
Good literature should make the reader uncomfortable enough to wiggle and squirm; it should also make the reader think. This is one of those books.
This is a wonderful novel — a rich literary treasure of one young man’s coming of age. At times violent, at others tender. This is a story that will stay with me and resonate within me for a long time.
There aren’t words enough to express my depth of emotion for this book. Outstanding.