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Dead Boys

by Richard Lange

      Richard Lange’s book of twelve short stories, Dead Boys, deals with those men who appear to be "normal" but are really on the fringe of society. However, as we read, we realize we all are on the fringe to some extent -some just more than others. Each story deals with a man who has a troublesome aspect of his life -love relationships, parental / sibling difficulties, occupational deficiencies and others.

The stories are based in Los Angeles, and we see the opposite of the glamour and glitz that we have come to expect from that locale. We see the down-and-out version of the city.

In "Bank of America," the main character appears to his family and his friends (with some exceptions) to be a typical husband and father, though he has a risky but very quick and profitable way to get ahead - he robs banks.

Some of the stories have a reasonable denouement. The character in "Bank of America" moves to the country with his wife and son, and presumably never has to answer for robbing banks. In some of the other stories, such as the title story, "Dead Boys," the end is somewhat like their lives -in limbo.

The stories are believable because we all know people who, in one way or another, act very much like these characters do. A good portrayal of men found to be slightly outside the circle of acceptance.

The Book

Little, Brown and Company / Hachette Book Group USA
August 14, 2007
More at
NOTE: Explicit Language

The Reviewer

Willie Elliott
Reviewed 2007
© 2006