SMOKED by Leon Bing


A True Story About the Kids Next Door
Email this review


 A deft and cleareyed account of the murders of three privileged California teens by two friends, of their indulged and hedonistic lifestyles, and of the trial that never touched the real question: Why? Bing (chronicler of L.A. youth gangs in Do or Die, 1991) takes us into the pampered world of wealthy South Pasadena teenagers--a shock to those who don't associate high school with drugs, alcohol, and casual sex. Ex-cheerleader Kathy Macaulay, hard-core punk Heather Goodwin, and Danae Palermo--all bright and solidly upper- middle class--were in the cool ``stoner'' crowd at South Pasadena High, as was Kathy's sometime boyfriend, Dave Adkins, a charming cipher who hailed from lesser circumstances. And then there was Dave's criminal mentor, weaselly, streetwise dropout Vinnie Hebrock, universally despised but tolerated as Dave's friend. After years of petty break-ins and muggings, Dave and Vinnie were living on Kathy's generosity in a well-appointed apartment above her garage. One night, after a typical barrage of partying that included a fight between Vinnie and Heather, Dave and Vinnie broke into the main house, took a shotgun, and murdered the three girls. Soon apprehended, the pair first lied, then quickly confessed. Tried as adults, they received maximum sentences, making headlines. Wisely, Bing seldom intercedes in the story, and--except for an investigating detective's assertion that the boys were ``bad seeds''--offers no explanation for the murders, leaving us wary of our own kids next door. Though the pace slows in the sometimes redundant courtroom section, this effortless read is a fascinating, revealing snapshot of listless youth. (First serial rights to Rolling Stone)

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-016920-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993


NonfictionSWANS AND PISTOLS by Leon Bing
by Leon Bing
NonfictionA WRONGFUL DEATH by Leon Bing
by Leon Bing
NonfictionDO OR DIE by Leon Bing
by Leon Bing