Monday, November 30, 2009

Dutch - Terri Woods


Dutch
Teri Woods
Grand Central Publishing

Fiction

He’s not even thirty, but Bernard James, Jr (Dutch) is already one of the most notorious and feared criminals in New Jersey. He was stealing cars with his own crew since long before it was legal for him to drive one. That’s why his friends were confused about his job at a pizza joint. He started sweeping up just for food and a few dollars here and there. Later, it became clear that he was there because the owner of the place had mob ties. Dutch has always understood and respected power.

As the story begins, he’s on trial for his life, accused of a string of brutal murders. The prosecutor is hoping to make his career on this case. The defense attorney is just hoping to get through the trial. Dutch, as usual, seems curiously detached. The story is told mostly in flashbacks, going back as far as the riots of 1967 that changed his mother’s life and led to his birth.

Readers who have a problem with coarse language will want to skip this one, sadly. The dialogue is written very much in the style of what you’d expect to hear from young urban criminals. Dutch makes no bones about what he’s done and who he is and he asks for no sympathy from the reader or from anyone else. His friends are mainly from his youth, including the one female member of his crew, Angel, who later organized her own crew, dubbing them “Angel’s Charlies.” This world may not be familiar to most readers, but the characters are all complex and realistic. There’s more to come in this story, and I’m interested to see where the author takes things next.

Rating: 7 ½
November 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-55153-3 (trade paperback)

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