From Publishers Weekly
William Dufris handles this book as it was intended—as a sendup of several genres. He brings to life Tinti's family of orphans, grave robbers, scam artists, drunks and assorted freaks, narrating as though telling terrifying tales to Boy Scouts around a campfire. His children are squeaky-voiced, his adults harsh and raspy. He moves easily through successions of melodramatic scenes alternately ghoulish, maudlin, violent, gothic and hokey. Adults who love high camp and young adults who savor tales of blood and gore will eat it up. A Dial hardcover. (Aug.)
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This striking debut novel is an homage to old-fashioned boys-own adventure stories, and unfolds like a Robert Louis Stevenson tale retold amid the hardscrabble squalor of Colonial New England. The sheer strangeness of the story is beguiling: a one-handed boy, tainted by his upbringing in a Catholic orphanage and with little to offer but a head full of lice, is adopted by a con artist, and enters an underworld of ruthless mousetrap-manufacturing barons, feisty chimney-dwelling dwarves, and, perhaps most terrifying of all, black-market dentists. In keeping with the gothic tradition, Tinti writes with an arch, almost camp sensibility. While on a nocturnal grave-digging excursion to procure bodies for a crazy scientist, for instance, the pair encounter an assassin, who tells the twelve-year-old hero that he was made for killing. Will the boy ever discover the truth of his past? Its good fun watching him find out.
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