Warning: Extremely creepy remarks ahead.

Chapter 13 – Problem Solver

We begin with a suitably creepy comment from Linstrope as he grips Marcus’s arm to keep him from running away.

“The bird has flown the coop.” Mr. Linstrope grinned darkly. “Such a naughty little bird.”

Savage continues to lay it on thick that Linstrope is a very bad guy.

“Don’t scream, or I’ll kill you here and now,” the man hissed.

Marcus asks him what he wants. Apparently Linstrope is gripping his arm so hard it feels like his arm is going to shatter. Well, crap.

“I thought that was quite clear.” Linstrope eased the pressure on Marcus’s arm a fraction and leaned down until they were face to face. “I want you.”

If Savage was not going for a rapist vibe here then I don’t know what he was thinking. Eww. I just want to mention that I’m pretty sure the target age of this book is between eleven and fifteen, so…. yeah.

Throwing Marcus into his wheelchair, Linstrope drags Marcus off to the forest because “more privacy is called for.” This….is just…. ugh. As they go toward the forest, Marcus asks Linstrope who he is. Being the good little cliched villain he is, Linstrope gives an evil laugh. He goes off on a tangent about what he thinks of lawyers, then sets the ground on fire. He’s quite a showy, if stupid, villain.

I can hardly believe that no one in the school noticed the sudden fire outside. They’re not even in the woods yet, so the flames should be really obvious.

The fire spells out the words that were on Linstrope’s business card in chapter nine.

His face highlighted by the moon’s silvery light, Linstrope raised an eyebrow as one side of his mouth lifted in an amused grin. “Watch closely now, little bird. I’d hate to have you blink and miss it.”

Pursing his lips, the man blew toward the words. Like magic, the burning letters reading Ben Linstrope rearranged themselves into a new name: Bonesplinter. Below them, Child Welfare Attorney and State of Arizona faded away, replaced by Problem Solver and State of No Return. Then the entire thing flared brightly before disappearing into ashes.

Like magic? LIKE MAGIC? THAT WAS OBVIOUSLY MAGIC. Also, Problem Solver and State of No Return sound like they were thought up by a five year old. Sigh.

Marcus looks from the pile of ashes back to Linstrope-who’s-really-Bonesplinter whose facial features have suddenly changed. He’s basically gotten a lot uglier and has a big scar on his face (which you may remember from the first few chapters.) Bonesplinter then references Marcus’s ability to use magic, and Marcus is all I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

He must think Bonesplinter is an idiot. If he says he knows about your powers, then he knows about them. He’s not just mentioning random things hoping he’ll say something that’s actually true. That much is obvious.

Of course, Bonesplinter calls Marcus on his feigned ignorance and then drops some hints that Marcus is more powerful than he realizes. Then he pushes him into the forest, out of sight of the school. And then molests him. Well, not really, but it would hardly be unexpected at this point.

“What are you going to do with me?” Marcus asked through gritted teeth.

Bonesplinter stopped deep in the shadows. “I’d like to spend a little time getting to know you,” he said. “I’d like to study you like a fine watch and see what makes you tick.”



I’ll give Savage credit for making a very creepy-sounding villain.



Bonesplinter transforms into a snake, and darts at Marcus.

And the chapter ends there on another cliff-hanger. Woohoo.

Bonesplinter is definitely creepy, but given that we don’t really know anything about what he or his “master” (from the first chapter) want Marcus for, it’s kind of lacking in suspense. We don’t know what the agenda of the baddies is, so the threat falls flat.


  1. LoneWolf on 10 June 2012, 03:35 said:

    Savage was definitely going for the rapist vibe here. “The adults will understand the hints and be horrified about the villain even more, while the children wouldn’t get it anyway”.

    Bonesplinter, Problem Solver. Heh.

  2. Danielle on 11 June 2012, 16:26 said:

    Problem Solver. Hehehe.

    Now, I’m not super familiar with the state of Arizona, but aren’t forests in short supply there? Let me google it….

    Huh. Guess there are. Still, it seems like an odd thing to put in a book—especially when American readers only know Arizona as “one of those deserty states.”

    As for the Problem Solver thing….I am officially convinced he made that up when he was five years old and first realized he wanted to be a supervillain. Such a cute little Bonesplinter he was, ever since the day his parents gave him his first machete….

  3. VikingBoyBilly on 13 June 2012, 09:18 said:

    At least Ben Lindstrope is an actual anagram of Bonesplinter, but child welfare attorney CANNOT become Problem Solver, and State of Arizona is clearly too long and lacking in needed letters to become State of No Return. Unless the two lines are combined together, then I think you MIGHT be able to construct the anagrams out of them.

  4. Kyllorac on 13 June 2012, 13:49 said:

    But what happens to the Z?

  5. Lady Cricket on 14 June 2012, 12:51 said:

    StateZ of no return?

  6. danielle on 15 June 2012, 02:12 said:

    I think it’s Z State of No Return.

  7. Rorschach on 16 June 2012, 02:24 said:

    Any time someone’s name is an anagram of their true name (which, frankly, is just pretty stupid. Why not just think up a normal fake name???) I feel like they’re trying to rip of Rowling’s Tom Marvolo Riddle = I Am Lord Voldemort.

  8. nosnews on 16 June 2012, 08:48 said:

    It’s better than the Alucard/Dracula thing, at the very least. Ohoho! I wrote my name backwards! Surely no one will know who I am now!

  9. LoneWolf on 17 June 2012, 19:24 said:

    What, it’s chapter 13 already? Just realized that we’re in the double-digits! The plot is moving quite slowly so far.

  10. swenson on 17 June 2012, 19:56 said:

    Good point. How many chapters are there, anyway? Are they short?

  11. BlackStar on 18 June 2012, 09:20 said:

    There are 63 chapters and 413 pages. The chapters are quite short, really. The plot is slow to start, given that Chapter 13 ended on page 76.