What started as a laid back Coming-of-Age story, turned into a mystical and scary tale. A few months ago, I stumbled upon the book The Turtle Boy while looking for rite of passage themed stories that I might enjoy. When I found this book on Amazon, I was drawn to it by three things: its title, the cover and the price (as, at the time, the Kindle edition was listed as a free download).
The first few pages left me a bit confused about what the story would be like. Eleven-year-old Timmy Quinn is looking forward to “endless months of mischief” during the long hot days of his summer vacation. He and his best mate Pete decide to explore the nearby pond. Once there, they meet an odd looking boy – a boy they have never seen before. The encounter ends abruptly, when the boys discover that the boy may not be what appears to the eye… From that moment on, the seemingly innocent story of childhood mischief turns into a chilling adventure that really took hold of my imagination.
The story was filled with surprises and twists that kept me turning the pages in awe. I had never read anything by Kealan Patrick Burke, but found that I really liked his writing style, attention to detail and intriguing portrayal of the thoughts of a young boy who experiences events way beyond his comprehension. The realistic way his character was portrayed reminded me of David, from the Stephen King novel Desperation. Achieving such an amount of realism in a horror story filled with mysticism is a real achievement. I was able to identify with Timmy Quinn and got a look at the world through his eyes. And I, like him, was scared/ saddened from what he discovered.
I was done with the book in about three hours. The story is short and I felt relieved when I discovered that the book is only the first installment of a series of stories focused on young Timmy Quinn. If you like Coming-of-Age tales, The Turtle Boy won’t disappoint you as it has all the important ingredients of that genre mixed with a dose of suspenseful mystery.