When Dillon is shot to death while riding his bike to town, his younger brother, Tuff, loses the only person in the world who has ever cared for him. Tuff swears to avenge his brother's murder but, despite his nickname, is unprepared for the task he has set for himself He upsets the policemen on the case, kidnaps an innocent man, and nearly gets himself and others killed. At the same time, Dillon's death has caused Tuff to make the most unlikely friends: Monica, a girl who had a crush on Dillon; and Pen Leppo, whom Tuff believes to be his father. Although Tuff later discovers that Pen isn't his biological father, the two of them realize that they need each other, and Pen unofficially adopts Tuff. Because of Pen's care, Tuff doesn't die, or kill, in his pursuit of justice -- and ultimately justice is done. Tuff learns to trust the people around him and they, in turn, do not disappoint him. Slightly unfocused, but Springer's (Music of their Hooves, 1994, etc.) characters are well drawn and sympathetic.