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Literature / The Twelve-Fingered Boy

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"I am not yet whole. Had I been, I could make this entire yard of boys kill each other. Gleefully."
Quincrux, The Twelve-Fingered Boy

The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy is a series of books written by John Hornor Jacobs. The main focus of these books is Shreveport Justice Cannon (or "Shreve"), a smart-mouthed convict and candy dealer in Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center. However, Shreve's mundane life in prison is changed by the arrival of his new cell mate: Jack Graves. Jack is quiet and reserved; however, his most striking feature is his fingers. Namely, that he has twelve of them.

With the mystery of Jack's origins and powers along with an unnerving man determined to get him, Shreve certainly has his work cut out for him. Unfortunately, things are only getting started....


The Twelve-Fingered Boy series contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Bi: Shreve has his moments, to the point where even he isn't sure.
  • Arc Words: "Incarcerado".
  • Big Bad: Quincrux, a mysterious psychic with his eyes on Jack. He isn't really the big bad.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Shreve has one for both his own little brother, Vig, and for Jack (to a degree).
  • Body Snatcher: Several psychics, but most notably The Witch.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jerry
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shreve is prone to this, being a juvenile delinquent and all.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Forcibly entering someone's mind is framed as an equivalent to sexual assault, a fact which is especially disturbing when Shreve does it to Jack.
  • The Dragon: The Witch to Quincrux (although he isn't that broken up over her death...)
  • Eldritch Abomination: Whatever is in Maryland.
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  • Emotion Eater: Some psychics, including The Witch and Shreve.
  • Enemy Mine: Shreve and Quincrux against whatever is in Maryland.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Quincrux may be a sinister older man interested in Jack, but he is not a pedophile.
  • Extra Digits: The book is named after Jack, who has six fingers on each hand.
  • Great Escape: An escape from both prison and the people hunting Jack.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Shreve and Jack.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Shreve manages the scare The Witch in the second book. And then he destroys her mind.
  • Loss of Identity: Shreve, especially during the second book.
  • Master of Illusion: An easy trick for psychics.
  • Mind Manipulation: Another obvious one.
  • Mind Rape: Is literally referred to as "rape", as the invasion of privacy and damage it may cause is similar.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Witch, A.K.A, Ilsa Moteff
  • Pariah Prisoner: Shreve by the second book.
  • People Puppets: Powerful enough psychics can control several people at one time.
  • Pet the Dog: Shreve's interactions with Jack and his younger brother, Vig.
  • Promotion to Parent: As a result of his alcoholic mother, Shreve became this to his brother.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: A common symptom of victims of possession or those doing the possessing.
  • Sarcasm Failure: The main sign that something is seriously wrong with Shreve.
  • Sanity Slippage: The strain of reading minds and other psychic powers may lead to this.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Practically the defining trait of Booth, one of the correctional officers at Casimir Pulaski.
  • Telepathy: Quincrux's ability and Shreve's.

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