When he stumbles across the body of a boy he knows, and another turns up dead, Billy decides to solve the murders himself, and will do whatever it takes to bring the killer to justice and collect the reward.
“Ask The Dark” is a very quick read at 250 pages. Surprisingly, I found Billy to be quite likeable, and he actually reminded me of Huck Finn. He’s had a rough life and I couldn’t help but emphasize with him. His mother died two years previously, and now because of unpaid medical bills, and his own bad health, Billy’ s father is in danger of losing their house unless he can come up with $48,000. Because of his nightly wanderings and familiarity with the town and it’s inhabitants, Billy is in a unique position to investigate the serial killer responsible for the disappearances and murders. Despite his reputation as a juvenile delinquent, Billy is as heroic as he is tough and street smart. While his investigation is initially prompted by the reward being offered, it ultimately turns into something far more. The events that transpire are related in the first person by Billy as he lies recovering in the hospital and as he recounts his role, he insists, “I ain’t no hero, and I aim to prove it.” From there, the plot builds slowly, and I found myself wishing at times that Billy would figure things out a little faster. Also, when he finally comes face to face with the killer, some of his actions weren’t entirely in keeping with his previously common sense attitude. I found Billy’ s narrative and dialect added to the raw emotion of the story, but some readers might be turned off by it. Because of the subject matter and graphic scenes, I definitely would not recommend this to anyone under the age of fourteen, but other than that, I think a wide audience would enjoy this imaginative novel.