Billy hopes his new job at the local prison will be a way of getting away from the orphanage, but it proves full of fear and there’s a suspicion that dark forces are at work. The story is set in an unnamed town, in what appears to be the 18th century and the prison is home to fearsome jailers and even more scary inmates.
Joseph Delaney, the author of the tremendously successful Spooks series, has applied his own sense of the horrific to this tale for younger readers. He builds the suspense throughout the story until its grisly end. There is a real sense of dread and I found myself longing for Billy to run away from the place. Of course he doesn’t.
The illustrator has created a truly sympathetic set of images to complement the text. There is a real synergy between the two forms, which adds to our sense of foreboding as events unfold. In fact the production has all been well thought out, the book’s pocket size allowing the illustrations to really make an impact.
A well written and scary story that will be enjoyed by those who enjoy this genre.