Humber Boy B – Ruth Dugdall


To be published in April 2015 by Legend Press

A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play?
My thoughts

This is a book that stays with you. It is very reminiscent of recent high profile child killer cases. It forces you to reflect on them and on how we treat children in the criminal justice system and afterwards. I found myself fascinated by Ben, the child offender, and wondering what made him tick. I felt nothing but empathy for all of the characters and their pain.

‘Humber Boy B’ is a story of a man who committed a terrible crime at the age of ten. He was responsible for the death of another child. We know him as eighteen year old ‘Ben’ and see how he is readjusting to life on the outside. Cate is his probation officer and is responsible for Ben on his release. It soon becomes clear how Ben’s crime has impacted on his community. There is a threat to Ben’s safety posted on Facebook. As the novel progresses, we understand why more and more. We see that there are many people who would want Ben to suffer further.

This is a very powerful intelligent and very impressive novel. Told from the perspectives of Ben and his probation officer, with insight into witnesses and the murder victim’s mother, we get a real sense of the complexity of the murder of a child by another child. Slowly over the course of the book, the day of the crime is revealed in full detail.


Thanks to Legend Press for sending me a review copy.





About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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