Serpent's Tail, Jul 2008, $14.95
In Luton, England Boy A and Boy B were convicted of murdering a young girl Angela Milton. Being teens there names were suppressed and their sentence relatively short for the heinous crime they committed.
A decade later Boy A is freed and uses Jack Burridge as his new name; a fight in the bar gives him the nickname “Bruiser”. His probation officer Uncle Terry arranges a place to live for Jack and finds the young man a job as a map reader. As Boy A, Jack learned how to survive brutal incarceration by fitting in and being amiable with everyone. He is doing well until he begins an affair with a woman at work at the same time the media announces Boy A is free to kill again.
Although the alphabetizing of each subsequent chapter is gimmicky, it works as it accentuates the dilemma of society dealing with violent youths committing crimes. Jack is a fascinating character as he knows he will be insecure for the rest of his life looking back at who will point the finger at Boy A. Readers will see how he got to the situation he is in as Jonathan Trigell takes the audience back through the lead character’s life that led to his joining Boy B to commit a homicide. Jack knows first hand that society pretends to rehab convicts, but expects revenge any moment. Fans will appreciate this strong character study of a young man who has no future, lives to barely survive the present, and cannot forget the past as no one (including himself) will ever let that occur.