Blood Sugar

Hard Case Crime/ Titan. Oct. 2019. 224p. ISBN 9781789091939. pap. $9.95; ebk. ISBN 9781789091946. SUSPENSE
With his mother suffering from paralyzing depression, young teen Jody spends most of his time in the decrepit home of thirtysomething Robbie. A onetime high school football star, Robbie had a promising start that was squashed by sexual abuse and a beating that left a man severely disfigured. Abandoned by his parents after the beating incident, Robbie takes out his anger on those who wronged him on the children trick-or-treating on Halloween. He sends Jody and Jody’s friend Dag to the store for candy, and has Jody, Dag, and Jody’s foster sister Midge help him lace it with razor blades and household cleaners. In the course of a day or so, we follow this motley band, whose poverty and desire for a caring family holds them together. Filled with heartbreaking details of these children’s lives, this story from The Shape of Water coauthor Kraus (with Guillermo del Toro) makes us care for this dysfunctional family and hope that they manage to do the right thing.
VERDICT Neither horror nor noir but an eye-opening look at what some have to do to survive. Recommended for larger collections.

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