Dickens redux in America

Hannah Tinti's first novel, The Good Thief, evokes a Dickensian world of crippled orphans, exploitive masters, graverobbing, murder and other juicy pasttimes. In colonial New England, Ren, a one-handed orphan at St. Anthony's Orphanage is adopted by Benjamin, a con artist who uses Ren's handicap to his own advantage. Encounters at a mousetrap factory, Ren's unlikely friendship with a dwarf who lives in a chimney and a mad scientist who does strange things to corpses all add up to a dark, funny and truly satisfying read.

For another adventure series, tamer than this one but still fun, read Phillip Pullman's Sally Lockhart mystery series beginning with The Ruby in the Smoke. The other two are Shadow in the North and The Tiger in the Well.