Humber Boy B is a novel I won’t forget in a hurry. It is heart-breaking, horrific, and at times, absolutely unsettling, but it is one of the most gripping novels I’ve read this year.
A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play?
The novel tells the story of Humber Boy B, who killed another child when he was ten years old, and the difficulties of reintegrating him into society eight years later.
Cate Austin, is his probation officer, and it is her job to keep his identity secret, against a society that is outraged at his early release. Some of the Facebook posts, skilfully woven throughout the story, are chilling.
It is told from the different viewpoints of the characters involved, not only after his release, but also at the time of the killing.
Ruth Dugdall, was herself a probation officer, and she deals with this harrowing subject with a great deal of sensitivity.
It is a very thought provoking novel, full of twists and turns, it’s one that will stay with you for a long time after you’ve reached its disturbing conclusion.
I have never read Ruth Dugdall before, but I will be reading her books in the future. She is an excellent story teller. Her characterisation is faultless, and her plot draws you in from the start.
This is a definite five star read. I loved it, and thoroughly recommend it.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Legend Press for giving me a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
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