Billy , written by Whitley Strieber, is the unsavory tale of a psychopath who stalks a 12-year-old boy. C Although Scott Turow's The Burden of…
Book Review

Graded book reviews the week of September 14, 1990

Billy, written by Whitley Strieber, is the unsavory tale of a psychopath who stalks a 12-year-old boy. C

Although Scott Turow's The Burden of Proof lacks the sure re thriller devices that helped make Presumed Innocent such a commanding piece of storytelling, readers who persevere will be rewarded. B

Chidlren of the Dragon: The Story of Tiananmen Square is a handsome collection of photographs, speeches, and newspaper accounts documenting the ill-fated democracy movement in China. B+

Coyote Waits is the 11th tale in Tony Hillerman's series about the Navajo Tribal Police is sturdy work from an incorruptible craftsman. A-

Crooning, by John Gregory Dunne, contains essays full of high dudgeon and sometimes high reward. B

Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and the Rock 'n' Roll Revoltuon, by Charles Shaar Murray, is the best book yet on Hendrix — and also a sweeping historical discussion of soul, jazz, the blues, and the impact of technology on pop music. A

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness is an intense account, often revealing and sometimes not, of the novelist William Styron's bout with suicidal depression. A-

Etchings in an Hourglass, the third volume of Kate Simon's memoirs (Bronx Primitive, A Wider World) tells how an adventurous, self-sufficient travel writer developed from an insecure existence as wife and mother. A

Hollywood has been good to Elmore Leonard, and Leonard has returned the favor with a blackly comic thriller set there, Get Shorty. A-

Fredric Dannen's Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business is a revealing look at the men who manipulate the rock & roll business. A

Will Friedwald's quirks aside, Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices From Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond is quite simply the best available guide to the art of jazz singing. A-

Language Maven Strikes Again is the sixth collection of William Safire's pun- mongering ''On Language'' columns. B

A young divorcee sparks a mystifying outbreak of passion in a Long Island suburb in Alice Hoffman's Seventh Heaven. B

As James Traub deftly shows us, Too Good to be True: The Outlandish Story of Wedtech is not a story about venality but about human frailty. A

In Blown Away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties, which examines the '60s through a Stones prism, A.E. Hotchner blames Jagger and crew for the decade's violent end. He also concludes that band member Brian Jones was murdered.

Steve Brodner has created illustrations you can fold and tuck to create your own celebrity face-lifts (Bess Truman + Willard Scott = Barbara Bush), in Fold 'n' Tuck.

Mars Beckons, by John Noble Wilford, is a history of our fascination with the Red Planet-and a blueprint for its future.

In The Road From Coorain, a vivid, elegantly written memoir, Jill Ker Conway — the historian who became Smith College's first woman president — recalls her childhood on a western Australian sheep ranch, her lonely school days in Sydney, and her departure for Harvard in 1960.

Posters of the Belle Epoque: The Wine Spectator Collection, by Jack Rennert, is one man's collection from the golden age of poster art.

Three Classic African-American Novels, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr., contains three portraits of 19th-century black life: William Wells Brown's Clotel; or, the President's Daughter; Frances E.W. Harper's Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted; and Charles W. Chestnut's The Marrow of Tradition.

Shirley Hazzard's The Transit of Venus was the Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. It's Hazzard's best novel.

Originally posted Sep 14, 1990 Published in issue #31 Sep 14, 1990 Order article reprints