We’re born into pain, and we leave in pain, and we cause it along the way too, it seems. It’s a damned hard lesson.

Fifteen-year-old Shreve Cannon is in Casimir Detention Center for Boys, but it seems that he doesn’t mind it. Sometimes, Shreve doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut but he is a smart-ass and somehow he always finds a way how to work the system. He has got a pretty good position in juvie because of his good running business as a candy dealer.

For the moment, he is quite okay with his life in juvie because he has a bed, his own three squares and the regular meals in the prison are something he wasn’t allowed to enjoy in his life with his mother, before. The only thing he is desperately missing is his little brother, because he fears that their alcohol addicted mother might not treat him well.

Shreve’s regular daily routine is over, when Jack Graves, his new cellmate, arrives at Casimir. Jack is very shy and scared and reminds Shreve in some ways of his little brother. So he doesn’t hesitate and takes Jack under his wing to protect the younger boy from the juvie bullies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long and Shreve messes things up for Jack when he unintentionally blabs Jack’s secret – that the boy has six fingers on each hand.

This of course makes Jack the center of attention in juvie, one thing he wanted to avoid at all costs because now he cannot hide anymore that he has even a way bigger secret. Jack has an outstanding dangerous superpower that he hasn’t completely under control. With this superpower he piques the interest of the super-villain Quincrux who wants to lay his hands on Jack and his extraordinary skills.

Jack and Shreve are afraid of Quincrux and bust out of juvie. Once they are outside, they have to learn that breaking free is much easier that defending their freedom. To protect themselves they have to cut across lines and often do not know what’s wrong or right.

I’m not exactly sure, how to pigeonhole THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY, is it a realistic prison story, XMen-like fantasy, mystery or a thriller? No matter what – I really liked this fast-paced, suspense-packed, creepy, dark and funny novel with those not so heroic superheroes. The characters are fascinating and pretty rough around the edges.

The author John Hornor Jacobs tells the story with the voice of Shreve that is sarcastic, rich with slang and easy to follow. A really cool read – I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Five out of five stars.

The Twelve-Fingered Boy
John  Hornor Jacobs
Publisher: CarolRhoda Books
ISBN-10: 0761390073
ISBN-13: 978-0761390077
Publication Date: February 01, 2013
Pages: 280


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