Brady, a 14-year-old boy navigating the ups and downs of his teenage years, soon finds himself neck-deep in trouble with his friends. Set in the early 1980s, when drug cartels and prostitution rings were all too common in Las Vegas. Brady didn’t have any friends upon arrival, but he soon formed a special bond with his neighbor, who was slightly older than him. Brady sees Mick as more of a brother and close friend.
He soon blends in with Mick and his friend Brett, and they run a drug supply business. Hosting parties where alcohol and drugs flowed was the norm for these teenagers. Brady meets 18-year-old Cheryl at one of the parties, and they hit it off immediately. Both of them feel a spark and are aware of the connection between them, but they are worlds apart due to their age differences. What does the future hold for these lovebirds?
Things started to go awry when Brett moved away. Brady realizes that perhaps Mick doesn’t consider him a friend. Things went bloody on one of their drug escapades, which led to shootings. With Brett shot and on the verge of dying, everything is at stake for these teenagers. Will they find their way out of it?
When I started reading this book, I marveled at the things teenagers do without their parent’s knowledge. The crazy parties and the drug trade. All these have a damaging effect on these young adults. But what are the things that push them into it? For someone like Brady, who has issues at home, I could say it’s the search for stability in his life. Brady is a wholesome character. His struggles are real and would elicit emotions from any reader. Sometimes I wonder how he got involved with bad friends despite his mother constantly looking out for him. A lot of work was put into character building as the other characters added depth and intrigue to the story, especially Cheryl. The plot was rather fast-paced, but I liked it. I also liked how the story followed a chronological order, so readers don’t get lost or confused.
Third Wheel is a story of unconditional love, tragic friendships, and the consequences of involving yourself in drugs. There are subtle lessons in the book, meaning it’s not just to entertain. Other than the gun violence and reckless use of drugs, the story was almost flawless. It doesn’t matter if this book is a work of fiction; it sheds light on some of our social vices. Richard R. Becker is a master storyteller, and I commend him for putting a lot of work into the storyline and characterization.
I recommend the book to fans of young adult fiction novels with a blend of action, romance, and crime.
|Richard R. Becker
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