Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thriller Pick: Ask the Dark

Ask the Dark
by Henry Turner
Clarion Books
250 pages
ISBN: 9780544308275
What a story! What a character!
You know that kid in school who's always in trouble? The one who is usually a loner, who's quiet and breaks the law? The kid who's out late at night and maybe shows up to class or maybe doesn't? The kid whose mother died? The kid whose father can't make enough money to pay the hospital  debt and save their family home? The kid with the sister who dresses like a prostitute and hangs out with the neighborhood bad boy? Billy Zeets is that kid, but you need to know more about him and he's ready to tell his story in Ask the Dark.
Billy is a young juvenile delinquent usually in minor trouble for petty theft or sneaking around places he shouldn't be. In fact, that's why he knows what he does. When young neighborhood boys start to disappear, Billy tries to piece together all the clues he knows he's seen. Sneaking around at night in dark places and abandoned houses gives Billy all the information he will need, but can he put the pieces together before another boy is killed? Try as he might, there's something that he's missing and if he can just wrap his head around it, he'll solve the crime.
In a voice that's as fresh as country air, Billy shines as an unforgettable storyteller. The reader will empathize with him as he takes odd jobs to help his father save their home. The reward for the arrest of the child snatcher/murderer is $100,000, and Billy aims to capture that reward. Time is running out for everyone involved: for the kidnapped boys it means their lives, for Billy, it means saving his home and proving himself, for his father it means keeping the family together.
Billy knows he'll need more than just a scrap of paper or a pair of mittens to prove who the killer is. He'll need to find the missing boys and save them. Only then will the police believe him. For a boy who's usually on the wrong side of the law, Billy is on the right side of morality. He has no choice. He alone can save those boys and secure  his family's destiny.
Author Henry Turner's debut novel Ask the Dark is a fast paced page turner with a protagonist every reader will root for. Billy is unforgettable.
Highly, highly recommended grade 8-up with this consideration: Book contains profanity and well-placed "F-bombs," but it is the way Billy  would talk. If language is a problem with your readership, you may want to place this book grade 9 and up. It's so well written that readers will not be shocked at F-bombs at all. I believe they will accept it as Billy's natural diction.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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