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.