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THE JOKER AND THE THIEF by Raymond Obstfeld


by Raymond Obstfeld

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30855-8
Publisher: Delacorte

 In a suspenseful first novel, a complacent teenager's intended tryst becomes a weekend of stunning self-discovery. Anticipating a delicious reunion with his high-school sweetheart, Didra, Eric arrives at a secluded country house to find a fugitive from a nearby juvenile-detention center holed up there. Griffin is a paradox: tough, brutally scarred, sporting a self-made tattoo, yet magnetically charming and surprisingly well-educated; Didra, when she arrives, is fascinated by him and his tale of being framed on drug charges. As circumstances force the two young men into reluctant cooperation, the well-planned life Eric is weaving for himself begins to unravel under Griffin's merciless scrutiny. After a shocking series of revelations--Didra's faithlessness to Eric, in the service of her TV career, is only the first--Eric finds himself swinging between rage, fear, desire for Griffin's sister Jojo and confusion at what is, by his lights, irrational behavior. Still, in the end, refusing to let Griffin face the music alone, he gives up a chance to get away. The nature and value of art is an important subtheme here; strong or weak, most of these characters are artists. The author tries their mettle in an intricately complex situation--laced with storms of emotion and violence (Griffin spends most of the novel bleeding from one wound or another)--and ably delivers some sharp insights into what makes people tick. (Fiction. YA)