Twelve-year-old Ren has lived in a Catholic orphanage ever since he can remember. His hand has been missing all that time, too, which is why no one ever chooses to adopt him. When Benjamin Nab unexpectedly shows up at the orphanage claiming to be his brother, Ren is excited and nervous about leaving the only home he’s ever known. Soon, he finds out Mr. Nab is not who he claims to be. Ren gets dragged into the underbelly of society, amongst thieves, liars, con-artists, murderers, and grave-robbers, always looking for a way to survive the future; eventually finding, instead, a clue to his past.
The book was well-written, a sort of Kidnapped-like atmosphere set in the early stages of American history. Despite that, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. That really had nothing to do with the book, though. I think it was a combination of the fact that I don’t normally enjoy Kidnapped-type adventure stories, and that I’ve been completely stressed out and distracted while reading. Between my anniversary, Christmas, my kids getting out of school, budding allergies, and my aunt’s failing health, I’ve been reading The Good Thief in snatches over the last week. Perhaps if I’d been in a better frame of mind, I would have enjoyed this more – like I said, it was well-written.
Good things: The setting and time period seemed to be accurately researched, with little details that made me feel the story took place at that time. The story had its touching moments. The mysteries were unraveled slowly and weren’t too predictable. If I hadn’t had to read in snatches, I probably would have been pulled along the plot quickly.
Not-so-good things: I didn’t really care about any of the characters. They were well-developed, but they were the scum of society. I wouldn’t care about a bunch of drug addicts and child pornographers in a book about today’s time, either. Also, the ending was a little too clean and neat.
So in summary, a well-written book, but not really my taste.