The Turtle Boy by Kealan Patrick Burke

The Turtle Boy  - Kealan Patrick Burke

"School is out and summer has begun. For eleven year old Timmy Quinn and his best friend Pete Marshall, the dreary town of Delaware Ohio becomes a place of magic, hidden treasure and discovery. But on the day they encounter a strange young boy sitting on the bank of Myers Pond a pond playground rumor says may hide turtles the size of Buicks everything changes. For it soon becomes apparent that dark secrets abound in the little community, secrets which come cupped in the hands of the dead, and in a heartbeat, Timmy and Pete's summer of wonder becomes a season of terror, betrayal and murder."


This novella and I did not get on well. I had enormous trouble with the author's writing style. What seemed to be an attempt at the poetic and evocative just came across as awkward, stilted, clunky, and just plain odd. It was riddled with lines such as these:


"To their left, blank-faced white houses stood facing each other, their windows glaring eyes issuing silent challenges they would never have the animation to pursue. To the right, hedges reared high, the tangles of weeds and switch grass occasionally gathering at the base of gnarled trees upon whose palsied arms leaves hung as an apparent afterthought."


Sometimes it was verging on the comically ridiculous:


"He sat so close to the water they could almost hear gravity groaning from the strain of keeping him from falling in."


No, what was groaning was me after reading that line. Since when does gravity prevent you from falling into something? Perhaps the author was trying to say that gravity was straining from the unsuccessful attempt of pulling the child into the water. Whatever he meant to convey, it simply didn't work.


As to the story itself, it was not executed well: the story lacked cohesion, some of what occurs does not make sense, the characters were flat, there were a few contradictions, and the dialogue did not feel natural.


Overall, I thought this novella failed on every level. It was poorly done and poorly written.


Final Rating: 1.5 stars