Barbara's Reviews > Dark Eyes

Dark Eyes by William Richter
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's review
Jun 13, 2012

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bookshelves: abusive-relationships, bullies, death, community, families, ncbla2013
Read in June, 2012

Adopted by an affluent New York family from a Russian orphanage, Wallis Stoneman now lives on the street, compelled by some inner urge to leave the soft life. After a prologue in the orphanage, the novel opens with a street scene that ends up in a murder, leading readers to think that Wally has been killed. The rest of the book involves the sixteen-year-old's attempts to find her birth mother while squatting on properties that haven't yet been sold. There are twists and turns and quite a few surprises in this fast-paced story, guaranteeing that readers will turn those pages quickly. But there are a lot of coincidences, too many for me to buy, which left me shaking my head in amazement that Wally could do all the things she does and escape death so often. Then, too, I felt troubled that she had a credit card all along while she lived on the street even though she didn't use it except for one night of celebration. How likely is that she's be accepted in the street culture when she always had the chance to go back home or to buy herself out of tough situations? As might be expected in this sort of book, there is a great deal of violence and blood that is shed all over the streets of New York. There are corrupt law enforcement officials, of course, some of whom have been deep underground for years, which might not be likely since there is a tendency to go rogue in that situation. I think, though, that the thing that annoyed me most of all was how familiar Klesko, the Russian gangster, seemed to be with American popular culture, city maps, and law enforcement. Since he had just escaped from prison, I don't see how that would be possible. Reading this one provided a fun ride, but the book doesn't survive intact from too much examination of its plot and characters.

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