are three "angels"--two boys, Bob and Manny, and a
girl, Shell--all sixteen. They recruit a fourth angel, Jerry,
also sixteen. Despite their youth, all carry an ugly past. They
deny it by turning a falsely brave front to the world, by using
hip, obscene language to conceal their real feelings, by drowning
their fears in frantic action, by directing their mounting rage
at one another.
themselves and the boredom of the hot Texas summer that stretches
before them like a barren desert, they range parks, streets,
derelict houses, killing time by playing private and very dangerous
games. They get their kicks by picking on people--strange people,
perverts, anybody--trying to get into their heads.
epigraph is from Blake:
Then they followed
Where the vision led,
And saw their sleeping child
Among tigers wild.
four teen-agers are in many ways still children--tinged
with innocence and capable of beauty--but they are also
tigers, ferocious, cold, destructive.