The realism, the violence, the compassion and the power that went into Whistle Stop are fully substantiated in this second book, which, too, has much that is extraordinary; a sense of underlying pattern, mounting tension. This is the story of the Braun girls and their neighbors in a midwest factory town rooming house. There is Sally, working in a restaurant and avoiding a play by her wop boss, while her husband is institutionalized for a mental breakdown. There is Virginia, the kid sister, who is jilted by the boy she liked. There is Johnny O'Connor, who worships his sulky doll of a wife, and who loses her when he loses the use of his hands and his job, and can no longer give her what she wants. Dominating the book is Petey, the eldest Braun girl, tough, flashy, transient Petey, who has the warmest heart of all, and who falls for a big brute of a man. Rape-murder-insanity-impotence -- attempted suicide, a sordid succession; but Maritta Wolff seems able to handle it. Harrowing, often moving, and with a more sympathetic set of characters than in Whistle Stop.