BOOKS: STREET GAMES

A WINNING NOVEL SET IN THE INNER CITY

Here's a short, gritty novel whose elegant construction calls to mind the way Greg Louganis used to dive and Larry Bird and Kevin McHale used to work the back-door play. "Yes!" the amazed onlooker would realize, watching these masters. "That's how it's done!" Madison Smartt Bell's Ten Indians (Pantheon; 272 pages; $23) catches child psychiatrist Mike Devlin just short of burnout, mortally sick from seeing damaged children. He is no longer surprised, for instance, to notice an eight-year-old boy who has come to him with cigarette burns on his body scissoring the crotches from plastic soldiers. Nothing new, but "Devlin realized...

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