Last year's The Bitterweed Path, despite its prickly subject, marked Phillips as a writer to watch. Search For A Hero does not substantiate that claim. It is a tenuous, rather cynical self-portrait of a youth who is fifth wheel to the family cart. His twin brothers, football stars, have prior claim to an education, despite the younger brother's evident superiority of brains. The father, caught by his younger son in questionable practices, has a self-conscious attitude of semi-avoidance. The mother is throughout a shadowy figure. And the youth himself, finding in his brothers' dependence on him, scholastically at any rate, his sole claim on them, promises to take an examination for one of the twins -- and then, hating himself for it, goes back on his promise. As the one ""out"", he enlists in the Navy, tricks his father into signing the permission, and leaves home. The period of training, the false front he builds, almost unwittingly, for himself, the accident of the notice of his death and the reversal, all add up to nothing in his inner growth or outer place in the world. Dullish.