Billy is a fourteen-year-old living with his father and pregnant older sister. He doesn’t hide his rough upbringing and reveals that before his mother passed about a year prior, he was a rebellious child–always sneaking out of the house, stealing and breaking into his neighbor’s garages. But as he attempts to his behavior and work for money to save his father’s house from repossession, kidnapping and fear fills his community.
It doesn’t take long for a total of three boys Billy’s age to be taken, forcing neighborhood police to institute a curfew for all those younger than eighteen. Billy finds it difficult to sleep since his mother’s death, so he takes cautious outings in the middle of the night. (Okay, so maybe he’s still a little rebellious). However, this rebellion leads to the solving of what turns out to be a far more brutal crime than anyone expected.
Ask the Dark by Henry Turner is a captivating story following the events that transform Billy from rebel to hero of his small neighborhood in the South. Immediately you feel like you’re with Billy as he recounts the story. It’s almost as though he’s noting thoughts for the record. We actually find out later that this is precisely what he’s doing by recording it all in a voice recorder he borrows from his best friend.
Turner does an excellent job of making you believe every word you read with a story I found hard to put down. I caught myself audibly gasping and even crying a couple times. Was the happily-ever-after a bit predictable? Maybe. But by the end, you feel that Billy deserves exactly what he gets.
Ask the Dark by Henry Turner (Clarion Books | 9780544308275 | April 7, 2015 | recommended for ages 14 and up)