Dutton, Sep 2001, 25.95, 416 pp.
Though his father committed suicide after being convicted of criminal wrongdoing, Billy Strobe follows in his legal footsteps. Billy leaves Enid, Oklahoma for UCLA law school on a scholarship where he excels in his first two years. However, he gets involved with four rich students, who pull an insider trading con. When they are caught the wealthy foursome plea bargain by accusing Billy of setting up the scheme. The affluent quartet receives probation while Billy goes to Soledad to do three to five years.
Billy quickly gets a taste of prison life as he meets other prisoners some friendly, some not so, and some outright dangerous. He soon becomes the jailhouse lawyer while continuing his schooling through correspondence classes. He particularly becomes interested in the case of Darryl Orton. As he completes his degree and obtains a pardon as a second chance poster boy, Billy plans to clear his father's name and that of Darryl, both whom he believes are victims of a horrendous system that he still believes is the best.
BILLY STROBE is an excellent legal thriller that leaves readers wondering if this graphic novel is autobiographical as John Martel paints an incredibly vivid picture of prison. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as the idealistic but realistic Billy survives prison and his return to society while working to prove that his father and Darryl are victims of the system that he admires. Mr. Martel is a marvelous author whose plot seems distinctively real while probing the American legal system.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner