How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
February 21, 2013
Flick is a teenaged pick-pocket living on the streets of New York. At least, that’s the story he tells everyone, including Joi, the self-proclaimed protector of street kids. In reality, he comes from power and money, which he left behind when the unthinkable happened. His move to New York is about biding his time and plotting his revenge. His plans get a kick-start when he is recruited to attend the exclusive Mandel Academy, a school that has been secretly training criminal masterminds for over a century. As luck would have it, the one person he despises most is a Mandel graduate and board member and the current headmaster has all the dirt Flick needs to destroy him. Flick quickly rises to the top of his class, but along the way he learn that there is no such thing as coincidence and he can’t trust anyone. The cost of the truth he desires is steep, but he is willing to pay any price. Or so he thinks.
Basically the Mandel Academy is a boarding school for the criminally insane. Life inside is more than dangerous. It is deadly. How to Lead a Life of Crime is an uncomfortable read. That is not to say it is not good. I found this book so compelling. Even as I was going batty over trying to wrap my head around the layers of horror, I could not stop reading. I had to know happened. Thankfully, I was rewarded with a satisfying and somewhat surprising end. This book is definitely meant for an older reader. It is dark, gritty, and quite graphic. I would not recommend this book for your favorite conspiracy theorist-it will only fuel the flames! Ms. Miller has created a world that is truly terrifying and yet it is not hard to believe that there is an element of truth in her tale. Yikes. This one won’t win any feel-good awards, but it will keep you turning the pages! It was also refreshing to find a creepy book that did not rely on a post-apocalyptic or supernatural scenario to scare the bejesus out of me! Bottom line: fresh, original, and intense.
You may also enjoy the Curse Workers (White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart) series by Holly Black and I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.