The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis
Review by Ellen
Alone in the world, life is not looking good for James. Technically, he is under the guardianship of his stepfather but a carer who takes out his anger and despair with kicks and punches is no comfort or companionship for a vulnerable boy. Neither can rid themselves of the deep emotional scars cut by the sudden crush of a car accident snuffing out his James’ mother’s life.
Escaping from the daily physical abuse, James hides out in a nearby abandoned and derelict house, tallying the days until adulthood and trying to make sense of his life in a series of chalk markings on the wall. But one day he discovers an injured man sheltering in the building, lying low after breaking free from his enforced role as the star of a funfair freak show. The two find their lives entangled and Webster gradually becomes James’ much-needed parent figure.
However, Webster has a dark secret. There are two possible truths; either he has been bitten by a werewolf and will change shape on the next full moon or his psychological trauma from harrowing events during his time fighting in the Iraq War have twisted his perception of reality.
Together, James and Webster must escape from their funfair pursuers but ultimately they must wriggle free from the binds of their tragic pasts, as must James’ stepfather. It’s a tense emotional ride with unpredictable twists – well worth the read.