The Good Thief

The Good ThiefThe Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know quite what this book wanted to be. It’s not really gothic, and not really spooky, but it has elements of that. Maybe sort of a cross of Tom Sawyer and Oliver Twist, with a lot of weird characters: a giant dug up from a recent burial who turns out to be alive and says he was “made for killing,” a dwarf who lives on the roof and comes down the chimney for his daily dinner from the landlady, an orphan with a missing hand, the man who adopts him leads a gang of petty thieves and grave robbers, and then there is the tycoon owner of the local mousetrap factory. I’m not sure I would have stuck with it and finished the book if it weren’t an audiobook. The narrator (William Dufris) did a good job with voices, and as one reviewer said, it’s a bit like listening to tall tales around a campfire.

Book description: Twelve year-old Ren is missing his left hand. How it was lost is a mystery that Ren has been trying to solve for his entire life, as well as who his parents are, and why he was abandoned as an infant at Saint Anthony’s Orphanage for boys. He longs for a family to call his own and is terrified of the day he will be sent alone into the world. But then a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren’s long-lost brother, and his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand and his parents persuades the monks at the orphanage to release the boy and to give Ren some hope. But is Benjamin really who he says he is? Journeying through a New England of whaling towns and meadowed farmlands, Ren is introduced to a vibrant world of hardscrabble adventure filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves. If he stays, Ren becomes one of them. If he goes, he’s lost once again. As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage he comes to suspect that Benjamin not only holds the key to his future, but to his past as well.