THE BLACK BOOK OF SECRETS by F.E. Higgins

THE BLACK BOOK OF SECRETS

Age Range: 11 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Higgins’s Dickensian debut features an opening scene that is both literally and figuratively gripping, plus an intriguing premise—but only about a short story’s worth of plot, and that’s riddled with gaps of logic. He frames his tale as chapters from two old volumes somehow stored in a wooden leg, plus frequent departures into other points of view to fill in gaps. It alternates between memoirs of young Ludlow Fitch, a lad who narrowly escapes his gin-soaked parents’ attempt to have his teeth extracted for sale and then falls in with itinerant pawnbroker/psychotherapist Joe Zabbidou, and the confessions of several patients—most involving murders or other dark deeds—as recorded in Zabbidou’s titular tome. Having engineered an ugly end for a particularly despicable villain, Zabbidou ultimately takes Fitch to a huge underground library where the ledger of confessions is shelved with thousands of others (how it came to be in that leg remains unexplained), and Fitch gets a clean, new one of his very own. Though set in an alternate universe, the tale closes with historical notes on the Victorian-style horrors mentioned or committed. The parts don’t hang together at all, but readers may enjoy many of them individually. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-312-36844-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2007




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