At first glance, Bill Beverly’s Dodgers would appear to be a crime novel about highly organised drug peddling in a run-down area of Los Angeles called The Boxes. There’s a police raid on a crack den in the opening pages in which an innocent young girl is killed in the line of fire. The reader is introduced to East (short for Easton), a solemn fifteen-year-old, employed by his uncle, Fin, a gangland boss, to act as a watcher outside the various drug houses he owns. East is held responsible for not alerting his fellow lookouts in time and receives a death threat from another member of the gang before being called into Fin’s presence.
Fin doesn’t pardon him but sets him a new and challenging task instead. He tells East that he wants him to murder someone. The boy automatically replies that he is willing to do it. He discovers the next morning that he will have three accomplices, the oldest of whom is