This novella follows Timmy Quinn, a young boy who stumbles upon the “turtle boy”, a strange looking boy who starts Timmy’s journey into finding out secrets about his community and his family via communicating with murder victims.
The mood this novella sets felt like a crossover between how I felt reading Holes by Louis Sachar and The Body by Stephen King. This novella differs significantly plot wise from those novels, but offer similar tones: young male narrator who either comes from a dysfunctional family, is abused by the hand of elders or has close friends who come from those familial situations. The difference between those novels and The Turtle Boy is that it takes the abusive elements and makes into a tragic-horror story. The plot isn’t filled with mind-bending twists or an ending you don’t see coming but something much more real, something that could happen to your community, that holds a negative shadow over several lives for years to come. The tragic horror vastly outweighs the small amount of mystery in this novella, but more then that, the tragic elements truly outweighs the horror. I don’t mean to say it’s a sob story, but it’s still quite sad. It’s distant and predictable enough that you won’t be bawling your eyes out, but it likely will still get to you.
It is important to note that the biggest downfall to this book is it’s characterizations. The characters are not fully fleshed people for the most part and you likely won’t get attached to any (although I’m very attached to the turtle boy). While that’s usually an important part of a story to me, I felt this focused so much on the plot, that it was able to get away with characterless characters. In fact, until writing this review, I never even noticed how bad the characterization was, because that wasn’t my focus when reading this novel. The only reason I even state this is for everyone to know what they are getting into with this novel. I don’t think the characterization really matters much in this story, I felt the plot, horror and intrigue made for a great experience and a great first book in a series.
This is the first book in a series called “Timmy Quinn”. The entire series consists of five books and follow Timmy to adulthood, as his entire life changes due to his encounter with the turtle boy, and the stories and reasons behind all this. Given the fact that this is not only a very short read, but that it leaves on a cliffhanger, I would HIGHLY recommend reading it, especially since it’s free on kindle. It’s also a new favourite of mine. I love horror but I like a very specific kind of horror and boy does this series deliver. I really hope others read this novel as I feel it often gets overlooked in the genre.
My recommended reads for this novella are already mentioned in this novel!