In their second collaboration (The Solid Gold Kid, 1977), two admirable novelists use a classic love triangle as the basis for a poignant, believable story. Tod Ellerbee is a tall, handsome loner, braised by his Vietnam vet Dad's opting out of his engineering career after Todd's mother's death and by his subsequent drifting from one job, and home, to another. Tod's best friend. Amos, is a cheerful wit to whom Tod owes his life (Amos heroically saved him after a foolhardly dive). Shy, short, and attending a different school, Amos begs Tod to get to know Hilary and then introduce him (her parents are pushing college, but she has a job as an auto mechanic--part rebellion, more genuine interest). Reluctantly, Tod obliges; the inevitable occurs. This is a perfect example of a well-worn plot made new by its fully realized characters. All three protagonists here are nice, competent, conscientious kids; with the pasts and personalities the Mazers allot them, each step, each response they make or take seems inevitable. Tod and Amos have too deep a friendship to become enemies--in fact, when Amos becomes tragically ill, Tod tries to conceal his love for Hilary from him. Hilary, to whom love for a boy is a new experience, finds to her confusion that she loves both. A grand, beautifully crafted story. Readers will be lured by paperback-like, idealized jacket portraits, but they'll be well rewarded.