REDHANDED by Michael Cadnum


Age Range: 14 & up
Email this review


A dreary, detached tale of a promising young boxer with a little too much testosterone. Readers will wince at the pounding Steven takes in practice rounds, but the gym’s owner offers to enter him in the upcoming West Coast Golden Gloves tournament—if he can come up with the fees and airfare. No problem, Steven claims, though he’s just quit his job, his pianist father can barely make ends meet, and he’s too proud to ask his estranged mother, or her parents, for help. An alternative presents itself; his friend Raymond, always eager to stir things up, has been touting a new acquaintance, Chad, who has a brother in stir and a questionable reputation. Chad turns out to be big, tough, and obviously bad news. After a certain amount of roosterish posturing, Steven finds himself with Chad and Raymond cruising Oakland in a car that is most likely stolen, nerving themselves to knock off a store—“ ‘It would work, if you did it right. It would be easy,’ ” Steven tells himself. Then Chad casually pulls a handgun out of the glove compartment, upping the stakes. In the end, the robbery doesn’t come off, but Chad has worked himself into such a state that he suddenly snatches, clubs, and shoots a stranded motorist. Though Steven knocks Chad out before he can kill her outright, readers won’t need the final sound of approaching sirens to know that trouble’s coming. Cadnum (The Edge, 1997, etc.) captures something of the thrill his characters feel pushing themselves to the edge, but Steven is a distant narrator, so seldom forthcoming about his reactions that, though the boxing action is vivid, the rest of his life seems colorless, beyond even Raymond’s love/hate relationship with risky behavior to animate. Above average, but not equal to the author’s best work. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-670-88775-7
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2000


ChildrenSEIZE THE STORM by Michael Cadnum
by Michael Cadnum
ChildrenFLASH by Michael Cadnum
by Michael Cadnum
ChildrenPERIL ON THE SEA by Michael Cadnum
by Michael Cadnum