The Car Thief

A Boy's Perilous Journey through the Juvenile Justice System

Fiction - Thriller - Legal
401 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2021
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Author Biography

Vicki Reed lives in Lexington, Ky, the proclaimed "horse capitol of the world" and combined her love of horses and kids in trouble to write her debut novel. She relied on decades spent in the field of juvenile justice and child welfare to take readers into a world most never know. And that was one of the reasons for writing The Car Thief...to open up readers' eyes and bring sunlight to the youth in the shadows. Buckle up for the ride!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Frank Stephen for Readers' Favorite

The Car Thief is a tale about a twelve-year-old orphan, Kelly Morgan, and his ordeals at the hand of child services and the juvenile justice system. The best he was offered after his father's death was a cold and abusive grandfather, a child home that subjected him to the point system, a juvenile detention facility, and a correction facility for adults. After a couple of failed promises and childish mistakes, he is left at the mercy of an ill-prepared justice infrastructure, a gutsy public defendant, and a veteran correctional officer. All Kelly wants is to get back to his home in Wyoming, but he may have to settle for a minimum-security forestry camp.

Author Vicki Reed addresses the flaws in the juvenile justice system and child services from the witty and innocent perspective of a child — one for who the system was not designed. As his lawyer puts it, "The law set a trap for a tiger. It caught a kitten." His story offers a mix of delight and sadness, inspiring and empathetic. Vicki Reed draws from her wealth of experience working in the juvenile justice system to deliver a fast-paced and straightforward plot, perfectly scripted with powerful diction that is easy to read and a thrilling delight. From the first scene, I was hooked and intrigued. Kelly's wit and innocence are very endearing and entertaining. Kelly is a compelling character, and his story will definitely resonate with anyone who has suffered unfairly at the hands of a failed system.