FINDING FEVER by Thomas Baird


Email this review


The title, unfortunately, is a play-on-words: 16-year:old narrator Benny O'Bryan has a sister, Polly, whose dog Fever is stolen--along with all the other dogs on their Connecticut country road--and the search for the dognappers is the mainspring of a stop that, correspondingly, is just a little too clever for emotional conviction. That doesn't, however, lessen its readability. Benny is approached, the night the dogs disappear, by rich, supercilious loner Robert Striller--Strill, in school. Benny's lawyer dad, dead two years, had hated Strill's father, smug investment-banker Teddy Striller; Benny, an outgoing sort, is intrigued by Strill. And Strill, quirkily, wants to solve this case. He has clues, and a theory that leads the boys--too neatly?--to weak bully Ray Duffel and his vicious uncle Walt Leeper. Benny wants to alert the police; Strill objects. Still wavering, Benny meets Teddy Striller, learns he's taking an interest in Benny's comely paralegal mother (she'll explain), sees the explosive tension between father and son. (For one thing, Strill dispassionately helped his mother leave.) In the showdown with the dog thieves, Strill pulls a gun, beats up on Walt, would kill him--and Benny has to intercede. Will Strill ever forgive him? Baird, author of adult novels, populates the book with interesting types and gives them some good lines. As for the Benny-Strill relationship, it works out fifty-fifty. Superior test-of-wills entertainment.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1982
Publisher: Harper & Row