Henry Whelp is in a Home for Wayward Wolves for misdemeanor. Any other wolf wouldn't be serving time but Henry's father known as the big bad wolf. The wolf who killed Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Everyone's worried Henry will be just like his father.
Dust City is filled with popluar fairy tale characters. It populated by hominids, wolves, foxes, ravens, basically all animals living together. Over time all the animals have evolved. Wolves can speak with ease and work on two legs. The mules are the slowest to change.
"I ignore Jack's request. I'm watching a trio of mules play cards at the folding table. From an evolutionary point of view, mules were the last to get wise, so to speak. Their forehoofs aren't anything like those of hominids or wolves. Mules evolved differently, with hooves that became jointed, crablike claws - ebony pincers, offset by a stubby opposbale thumb. They have never been reviled like wolves, or mistrusted like foxes and ravens. As always they are largely ignored. I'm guilty of it myself. I don't even know these guys names."
The nimble and quick Jack (Beanstalk) is a thief. He is also Henry's best friend and the only hominid at the Home for Wayward Wolves. Henry is big enough to impose is power on the smaller animals but that is not in his nature. Right from the beginning this is something very likable about Henry. When Henry comes across some evidence that maybe his father wasn't in his right mind when he committed murder, he is determined to find out the truth. Henry believes fairydust, a drug many crave is to blame. There is a whole underworld that caters to its users. Henry goes undercover to work for his father's old boss Skinner.
There's a lot going on with the creation of Dust City, yet Weston, makes it work, very well. The author made me believe, feel and see Dust City. So much so, towards the end when Henry came across wolves trapped in cages that could only walk on all fours and couldn't speak, I didn't know what to make of them. The novel also as a nice mystery noire feel to it. Thanks to the dark city back drop and Detective White (Snow White). Detective White works alone and always catches the criminal.
It was very refreshing to read a YA novel that wasn't more of the same. This story was some serious fun and well imagined. I highly recommand it. Ages 11 up