Book Review: Boy A

This thoughtful, smoothly written story unfolds by alternating between present day and childhood events that led up to a heinous crime perpetrated by two alienated youth. Once known only by his court designation, Child A selected the name Jack for himself. Just released from jail at twenty-four, it was the only part of his life that was truly his own, everything else was a carefully constructed cover.

With the aid of Terry, his only real contact with the world throughout much of his time in jail, Jack begins a new life complete with a place to live in a nice rooming house, a decent job and an identity designed to keep the press off track. Jack revels in being a part of the wide world he’s never known, making some friends, acquiring a few treasured possessions and even better, tasting love. Unfortunately, life isn’t static and when a young woman disappears, Jack’s worst fears seem realized. When those who promised help failed him, Jack takes charge of his life with tragic yet understandable consequences.

The details of the crime that led to Jack’s incarceration are revealed drop at a time, carefully diluted by his present wonder at life’s simple pleasures in a carefully crafted telling designed to make one sympathize with this troubled young man.

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