Jacobs serves up a juvenile-detention story flavored with weirdness.
Shreveport Justice Cannon, know within the Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center for Boys as Shreve, is happy to deal candy and wait until his sentence is up. When Jack Graves arrives and is assigned to Shreve’s cell, Casimir Juvie starts receiving visits from the mysterious Mr. Quincrux and Ilsa. They are curious about Jack’s polydactyly—he is the titular 12-fingered boy—and the strange circumstances that brought Jack to Casimir. Shreve and Jack are forced to flee from Quincrux and his creepy ability to invade people’s minds, even as Shreve seems to develop a talent for mind hijacking as well. While both teens are perfectly likable, there’s nothing new about them either. Shreve’s back story of neglect and self-sacrifice and Jack’s outcast status based on physical appearance are all too familiar. Quincrux’s power adds a dash of paranormal horror, but a potentially intriguing exploration of moral relativism through Shreve’s possessions becomes more lecture than narrative. A string of seemingly random encounters provides action but works against narrative cohesion.
Against the plethora of mutant and superhuman narratives, this effort just feels shopworn. (Paranormal adventure. 12-14)