Wild Boy and the Black Terror by Rob Lloyd Jones (Walker Books)
HC RRP $19.95
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Darker and more dramatic, this sequel to Wild Boy draws us into Mayfair in West London, 1842. Wild Boy the circus freak and his best friend Clarissa Everett have been hidden away by their guardian Marcus these last months after they helped him catch a murderer. This was due to Clarissa’s nimbleness and Wild Boy’s perceptive observational skills, which have become finely tuned assets to the children.
There is a great and sinister threat to all of the surrounding area which includes the Palace and Queen Victoria. A dark pervading presence that carries horrible symptoms has begun to envelope everyone. Its mysterious power causes past memories to resurge and its terror grotesquely transmogrifies the victim. This all consuming blackness in body and soul ends only in death.
Wild Boy and Clarissa are called upon to use their detective skills and particular gifts to track down and destroy this dark monster. Will they succeed? Can they do so before Marcus succumbs to the black terror? And what role, if any, does Wild Boy’s nemesis, Augustus Finch, play in this frightful story?
This is a fast-faced, heart-pounding mystery of great proportions suited for the 12+ age group, although it’s listed as 9+. Scary and graphic at times, its gothic horror will appeal to readers of this genre. It has a pit full of suspects, and just when you think you’ve guessed who the culprit is, another more convincing choice appears. It will be read in one sitting for there’s no way it can be put down before the last page.