Wild Boy – Rob Lloyd Jones Review

Wild Boy Murder mystery meets carnival flair in a rollicking Victorian adventure centered on a boy with a unique appearance — and unique gifts.

In the seedy underworld of Victorian London, a boy is born and abandoned. Snatched up by an unscrupulous and abusive showman, Wild Boy, covered in hair from head to toe, becomes a sideshow freak. Isolated from other children and wickedly abused by the cruel master who bought him, Wild Boy becomes an avid observer, developing Sherlock Holmes–like deductive skills. Although he is tormented and insulted, kicked and spat at, his quick mind takes in everything he sees. When a murder occurs at the fair, Wild Boy is hastily accused. Can he use his powers of deduction to save himself? And will the talented and spunky young acrobat Clarissa be with him — or against him? Readers will be swept along by the cinematic pace, immersed in the vivid historical setting, and gripped by suspense as they wait to find out if a better fate could possibly await someone so very different.

I really liked this book. There was something really endearing about the character of Wild Boy. Covered with hair, he has spent his eleven years being mistreated and isolated from the “normals”. He has an almost Sherlock-ian gift of observation that he uses while watching the people he wishes he could join. When there’s a murder and Wild Boy is accused, he must prove his innocence by using his gift.

There’s so much action and adventure in this novel. It’s marketed for a middle-aged crowd, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were certain predictable moments, but there were also surprisingly dark ones.The characterization of both Wild Boy and Clarissa was really well-done and they were both such complex characters. I understood their desire to change their circumstances and I wanted the best for them.

The plot was quite interesting and unique. The murderer was a little predictable for me, but I liked the ambiguity of his actions. It wasn’t all black and white, which I always enjoy in novels. The book has plenty of room for a sequel and I’d be interested in reading it. Thoroughly enjoyable novel.


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