FIND DEBBIE! by Roy Brown


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Brown, whose way with clenched-teeth dialogue and hard-edged kids you'll remember from Flight of Sparrows (1973) and The White Sparrow (1975), spins first-rate crime suspense here, though some may feel it's perpetrated at the expense of the victim, a fourteen-year-old psychotic (autistic) girl. When soon-to-be-retired Inspector Bates begins investigating the missing girl, Debbie, he hears descriptions of a filth-eating, violent monster and learns that the home care her social worker father has insisted on has taken its toll of the whole family--so much so that he wonders whether her disappearance can be accidental. The family profile that emerges through Bates' detective work is brutally honest and the trail, leading to the place where Debbie was murdered by an ex-mental patient, is strewn with discomfiting surprises. The implication (arising from the identity of the killer as much as from Debbie's character) is that the insane are best left safely under lock and key; that's a view most Americans won't be comfortable with although Brown handles the police blotter psychology skillfully enough to make its cold assumptions hit home.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury