Trell by Dick Lehr
Published September 12th, 2017 by Candlewick Press
On a hot summer night in the late 1980s, in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, a twelve-year-old African-American girl was sitting on a mailbox talking with her friends when she became the innocent victim of gang-related gunfire. Amid public outcry, an immediate manhunt was on to catch the murderer, and a young African-American man was quickly apprehended, charged, and — wrongly — convicted of the crime. Dick Lehr, a former reporter for the Boston Globe‘s famous Spotlight Team who investigated this case for the newspaper, now turns the story into Trell, a page-turning novel about the daughter of an imprisoned man who persuades a reporter and a lawyer to help her prove her father’s innocence. What pieces of evidence might have been overlooked? Can they manage to get to the truth before a dangerous character from the neighborhood gets to them?
This book is based on a true crime that occurred in Roxbury, MA where a 12 year old African American girl named Darlene Moore, was sitting on a mailbox and got caught in the crossfire of gang violence. It became a very difficult case and a man was wrongly convicted of the crime and was imprisoned for about 14 years before he was released.. His release was due in part to the investigation by the author of this book, who previously had worked as a reported for the Boston Globe. So this book obviously is closely related to the events that happened in real life, although the author does change names and some small details. The book is told from the perspective of the wrongly convicted man’s teenage daughter, which I found to be quite an interesting approach. The author also writes himself into the story, using a different name which was also an interesting approach and something I have previously not read. The pacing of this story also moves along at quite a quick pace.
This of course is a very interesting story, but I think it would have worked better if the author had just written the book as non-fiction. Trying to write fiction so close to an actual case, but changing names and details just doesn’t always that well. I did enjoy the fact that the book is written from Trell’s perspective, the daughter of the wrongly convicted man, instead of from the reporter’s perspective. Overall, I did enjoy the book; it was an interesting story and it was told from an interesting perspective, but I think it would have worked better if the author had written it as non-fiction.
Thank you to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for sending me an ARC of this book.