Getting Blue

Getting Blue

by Peter Gethers

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How can April give up her name, her friends, her boyfriend Steve, and everything she's ever known?

April Corrigan feels like her life is over when she learns that her father has been working undercover for the FBI and the family must relocate under the Federal Witness Security Program.

No one can reach them now... or can they?


How can April give up her name, her friends, her boyfriend Steve, and everything she's ever known?

April Corrigan feels like her life is over when she learns that her father has been working undercover for the FBI and the family must relocate under the Federal Witness Security Program.

No one can reach them now... or can they?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gethers's second novel (after The Dandy presents the life and times of Alex Justin, a major league baseball player searching for that elusive ``moment''the ``perfect play.'' His relationship with Patty, his childhood sweetheart, is particularly endearing, and this neatly told story, with its snappy dialogue, is populated by other memorable characters: enigmatic Dave Manning, crass ``Lump'' and Willie Trott, whose career is violently cut short by bigotry. The perceptive, compelling narrative draws us into Alex's ``secret world,'' his own version of the American Dream, in which he is convinced that potential and hard work will spell certain success. The problem is, the Dream subtly changes as Alex ages, for he learns fear. The book begins in the '50s, when Alex is an apprentice player, and ends in the '80s, when he is the manager of a jazz club. When they are 18, Willie introduces Alex to modern jazz and Charlie Parker, whose moments of ``getting blue'' are the perfect musical counterpoint to Alex's search. Alex is driven to do something great, but when his moment is realized, he discovers it is not enough, for what he strove to achieve in baseball, he continues to wish to achieve in life. (March 6)
Library Journal - Library Journal
A well-written, compassionate novel about America's favorite pastime, this is the tale of Alex Justinjourneyman big league outfielder, decent human being, and dreamer. Growing up in New York in the 1950s, Alex believes he's destined for baseball greatness. During the next two decades as a much-traded .260 hitter, he comes to realize that he is not the best. Still he persists and, just once, does touch greatnessmakes a great catch that wins the World Series for the Yankees. During the 1980s Alex, trading in on his moment of baseball glory, operates a jazz nightclub and eatery. By the author of The Dandy , this novel offers solid characterization, deep respect for baseball, and a mature understanding or appreciation of human weakness. Highly recommended. James B. Hemesath, Adams State Coll . Lib., Alamosa, Col.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-- Undoubtedly a master of suspense, Duncan has written a spellbinding tale of uniquely contemporary horror. Seventeen-year-old April Corrigan's life ends abruptly when she learns that her airline executive father has been working secretly undercover for the FBI. Now his testimony against a notorious drug dealer has placed the whole family in danger, and April and her family are quickly relocated under the Federal Witness Security Program. What begins as a temporary measure soon must become a way of life. April, an ace tennis player, has to stop playing tennis; her mother must give up a lucrative career as a children's author; their names are changed; and April's naive attempt to communicate with her boyfriend causes the violent death of an agent. The entire book is fast-paced and enthralling, but the conclusion will have readers on the edge of their chairs. April and her grandmother get involved a high-speed cross-country chase which culminates in the death of a hit man. Although some readers will not be able to imagine having to sever completely all ties with their past, they won't be able to put this book down. Don't Look Behind You is filled with booktalk potential. --Jeanette Larson, Mesquite Public Library, Tex.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.11(h) x 0.91(d)

Read an Excerpt

Rita was back again in five days. This time she brought some official-looking papers in a folder that contained among other things four birth certificates and a marriage certificate.

The name on my father's birth certificate was "Philip Weber," and my mother's was "Ellen Paul." The marriage certificate was made out to show their true wedding date.

"At least we can celebrate our real anniversary," said Mother.

Bram's new birth certificate gave his name as "Jason Weber," and mine showed me to be "Valerie Weber," a name that I instantly hated. Not that I had ever been any too crazy about my real name. I'd always thought it sounded like an ingenue on a soap opera. But I knew there was no way I could ever be comfortable as "Valerie." When I heard that name the picture that leapt into my mind was of Steve's old girlfriend draped all over my own date, Bobby Charo, at Sherry's Christmas party.

"I will not be a 'Valerie,'" I said. "That name has bad vibes for me. Why can't we choose our own names?"

"Names are the least of our worries," Rita said shortly. "Our main concern is to get you people relocated. A major effort is being made to find you, and we want to get you transferred as quickly as possible."

"What's happened now?" Dad asked warily.

"Your mother-in-law had a phone call. The man identified himself as Mrs. Corrigan's editor. He told Mrs. Gilbert a movie producer wanted to buy the film rights to one of her daughter's books."

Mother's face lit up with the first real smile in weeks. "Did he say which book they want? What studio is it?" When Rita didn't reply, her excitement faded. "I take it you don't believe the call waslegitimate."

"We know it wasn't," said Rita. "We called your publisher. The editor who was supposed to be trying to reach you was away on vacation. Nobody in the office knew a thing about a movie offer."

"Of course not," Mother said with quiet acceptance. "I can see now that the whole thing had to be a setup. A movie offer would have come through my agent, not my publisher, and neither of them would have tried to reach me through Lorelei. I don't think they even know what my mother's name is."

"A man like Vamp knows all the angles," said Rita.

"I don't like this," said Dad. "How soon can we get out of here?"

"You leave tonight," Rita told him. "It's all taken care of. I have you booked on a six P.M. flight to Florida."

"Florida!" Dad exclaimed. "That doesn't make sense. The drug trade in that state is the highest in the country."

"Vamp knows that too," said Rita. "It will work in your favor, because it will be the last place he'll expect us to send you. You'll land at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, but your final destination will be Grove City, fifty miles east of there. You're to travel in pairs, and your reservations have been made in the names of 'Freeman' and 'Gross.' That way, your tracks will be covered. Neither 'Corrigan' nor 'Weber' will appear on the passenger list."

Up until then, life had seemed to be stopped in a holding pattern like a frame of a broken movie reel. Now, abruptly, the film was running at triple speed, and in one brief moment we were jerked into frantic motion. For the next ten minutes we dashed about, grabbing up clothing, unplugging the hair dryer, and tossing our scattered belongings into suitcases.

We were ready to walk out the door, when Rita said, "Wait a minute. Something has to be done about Valerie's hair."

At first I didn't take in who it was she was talking about. Then, with a start, I remembered that I was Valerie.

"What's wrong with my hair?" I asked nervously.

"It's much too eye-catching. The color and length will make you stand out in a crowd. We're going to have to cut it before we leave here."

"No!" I cried. "I've been growing my hair for years!" My hands flew up protectively to cover my head. "I'll wear a wig or a scarf, but I'm not going to cut it!"

"It's much too long to fit under a wig," said Rita. "As for a scarf, nobody wears scarves in the summertime. Most physical characteristics can't be changed, but we can change the length of your hair, and it's important we do it."

"Mother!" I cried in anguish. "You aren't going to let her?" But even as I spoke, I knew it was hopeless. Mother had never worried about appearances, and her own short hair was cut in a blow-dry style that Lorelei and I had always agreed looked terrible.

I wasn't given time to argue my case. Within minutes I was standing in the bathroom with a towel draped over my shoulders and my eyes screwed shut so I wouldn't have to watch in the mirror as Rita hacked off my beautiful hair with fingernail scissors and Mother gathered it up and put it in the waste basket. Then we piled into Rita's car, a compact too small for five people, and sped back along the freeway toward the Richmond airport. The wind stroked the back of my neck with alien fingers, and despite the heat of the day, I found myself shivering.

"I don't understand," I said. "Why would anyone think Dad--"

"April, please, don't ask questions," said Mother. "There just isn't time for that. Go up to your room and put some things in a suitcase. Max is going to put us up in a hotel tonight."

After I'd finished my packing, I carried my bag downstairs. Everybody else was gathered in the hallway. Mother had a suitcase, and Bram, his backpack. A stranger looking in on us at that moment would have thought we were setting off on a family vacation trip.

"I don't want you contacting anybody," said Max. "This is a secret getaway, like you see on television. No one can even make one phone call. We don't want a single person to know where you're going."

"Call me tonight so I'll know where you are," said Lorelei.

Mother shook her head. "You heard what Max said."

"He didn't mean that you couldn't call me!" Lorelei protested. "For the love of heaven, Elizabeth, I'm your mother!"

"I'm sorry, but Liz is right, Mrs. Gilbert," Max told her. "She and the children are not to make calls to anyone. I'm sure you'll agree that their safety must make top priority right now."

He got into the driver's seat and started the car. As we pulled out into the street, I impulsively turned around in my seat and looked back through the rear window. Our house was positioned in the center of the glass like a painting in a frame, and the whole front yard was ablaze with the brilliance of springtime.

I stared for a moment, implanting the scene in my memory. Then the car rounded a corner, and the picture was gone.

"Now can you tell me what's going on?" I asked Mother. "It can't be possible somebody meant to kill Dad! How much of a threat is the manager of an air freight office?"

"Dad is more than an office manager," said Mother. The light was too dim to allow me to see her expression. "There's a reason we haven't seen Max for over a year now. He's deliberately kept his distance to downplay their friendship. Ever since the last time Max was at our house for dinner, your father has been working secretly for the FBI."

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