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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Hampton Road is a psychological thriller written by Michael Segedy. When we first meet Billy, he's in some sort of institution and being given medication by an orderly. Billy's not sure why he's there and hates the medicine which makes him tired and mentally confused. He has lost track of time but knows he should be getting ready for his next race. Billy's a motorcycle racer and just got his expert card. He has big dreams, but suddenly they're all put on hold while he's in this place. Every day, Billy goes in to speak with Dr. Phillips, a fat man with thick glasses and rather spooky little eyes, who sits in his swivel chair with his back to the window. Billy sits in a hard plastic chair opposite the doctor with the sun glaring in at him from that window. Billy wonders why Charlie, or his mother, or Praxy, his girlfriend won't come to visit him. Dr. Phillips asks him about Charlie, who's his best friend, but there's a blinding flash every time Billy thinks about Charlie, and he can't even remember what Charlie looks like.
Michael Segedy's young adult thriller, Hampton Road, is suspenseful and compelling. The reader, in many ways, becomes Billy as he tries to piece together what happened to his life and why he's in the institution. Regardless of whether you've ever been on a motorcycle or been interested in races, the descriptions of the motorcycles, the preparation necessary for racing them, and the races themselves bring the sport alive in a manner that's never tedious or over-descriptive. I was spell-bound envisioning the moves the racers made as they competed in the qualifying heat. The school scenes are fun, with the troglodyte history teacher, the intolerant A-students, and the English teacher who seems to have it all together. Charlie, Praxy, and Billy are all great characters, complex and real, and they complement each other so well. Billy is the hero who's larger than life, and the three of them are such stout friends and loyal companions. I loved this book. It's amazingly good and very highly recommended.