A noted author (Summer of My German Soldier, 1973) depicts the tragic effects of homophobia, with results that are more polemical than literary. Carla, high-school-age daughter of the feisty, liberal librarian in a small Arkansas town, is overwhelmingly attracted to Andy, as much because of his all-American lifestyle as his handsome good looks. She's even willing to overlook his vicious harassment of a gay couple until, in a brutally vivid scene, he and some of his friends torture and drown one of them. Eyes opened, Carla steps forward as chief witness at a trial that results in a manslaughter conviction and probation for all. At the close, Stephan Jones' surviving partner extracts a uniquely apt revenge. Unfortunately, Greene's empathetic depiction of the gay couple and her powerful arguments concerning the role of religion in gay persecution are undermined by an awkward, florid style with abruptly shifting points of view and a tendency to tell rather than show. A story with a significant theme, but without the artistic distinction of the author's early books.