The Good Thief
Dial, Aug 2008, $25.00
In New England at Saint Anthony’s for Boys orphanage, twelve years old resident Ren wonders how he lost his left hand and who his biological parents are. He has tried to solve both puzzles for as long as he can remember, but has made no progress on either of his inquiries. He especially would like to find his family as he fears the Brothers who run the facility will soon toss him out into the real world.
Adult Benjamin Nab arrives at Saint Antony with an astonishing claim that Ren is his younger brother. He backs his declaration by explaining how the preadolescent lost his hand and ended up in an orphanage. The Brothers feels good for Ren that his older sibling has come to take him home. However, Benjamin and his partner Tom are con artists whose newest ploy is to use a young angelic looking cripple to expedite the swindle. This proves quite lucrative as Ren takes to a life of crime as if he was born to it; Benjamin and Tom are family to him until they reach North Umbrage where everything unravels.
This engaging historical stars three fascinating crooks with radically different personalities whose adventures in con crime is somewhat abated. Readers especially the young adult audience will relish Ren’s escapades but also undertsanbd his obsessive need to belong to someone who cares about him even if that means criminal activities; this is similar to youngsters joining gangs. Hannah Tinti provides a deep look at THE GOOD THIEF whose psychological relational needs are the driving elements to this enjoyable nineteenth century character driven thriller.