Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Dead End Street is a coming of age thriller for young and new adult readers, written by R.L. Herron. It is a continuation of the saga which began with his novel, Reichold Street, which followed the lives and fortunes of a group of friends who grew up in a working-class neighborhood during the Vietnam War years. The war affected them all in profound ways, whether they had actually served or not, and Paul Barrett was no exception. He had served and the experience was indeed a life-changing one and would continue to be so. While some sought to denigrate his Vietnam service on the basis that he had actually enlisted rather than waiting to be drafted, Paul’s life had been molten and reforged through that jungle conflict -- most recently through the death of his wife caused by an unstable wartime friend. Paul was a successful thriller writer now. His books were in demand, and he owned a large home in a trendy area of Southern California, but his life had lost all of its appeal since Blake Thompson had killed Carrie. He had left the dead end street that was Reichold Street many years before and was a success, but even the lofty trappings of his California address had turned into a dead end as well. But there were other forces at work threatening the lives of Paul, Randy, Donnie and Janice, even more deadly ones.
R.L. Herron’s coming of age thriller for young and new adult readers, Dead End Street, is a poignant and moving look at the Reichold Street friends whose lives would be forever changed by the Vietnam War. Herron’s characters are complex and complicated, and it’s hard not to share in Paul’s psychic trauma which is heightened by the sudden violence that happens during Janice and Randy’s wedding reception back in Brickdale. Dead End Street is introspective and moody at times, echoing Paul’s mental state, and the growing disparity between his professional success and his happiness. This well-written tale is a stirring continuation of the family saga begun in Reichold Street, and it’s most highly recommended.