“This engaging novel is written with a masterful hand. Having promised an absent friend to shield that friend’s young brother from the torments of the middle school bully, Matt Parker must quickly develop and draw on the courage and resourcefulness that will not only shield young Billy but draw Matt himself swiftly from boyhood toward manhood in 1950s Clearwater, Fla. In this closely observed narrative, Fred Hosley creates in Matt an affable Florida pre-teen who soon has us rooting hard on his side. Hosley evokes the era with aptly chosen period detail and vivid characters. Readers will not only enjoy hanging out with Matt and his friends but may even recall that at his age we pretty much did hang out with them. A fine book that awakens both our sympathy and our memory.”