Too young to die - old enough to murder

Tenth anniversary edition

Shorty and Alberto are more than best friends. They're blood brothers, both about to turn thirteen, running wild on the streets of Medellin, Colombia.

In this troubled South American city, guns speak louder than words. A killing can be bought for nothing here, with kids hired to do the dirty work. So when Alberto comes to the attention of a gangland boss, Shorty is left to kick at the dirt and reflect on his lot in life.

Lost without his buddy, Shorty begins to yearn for some purpose, affection and respect of his own - even when Alberto goes missing. 

Praise for Boy Kills Man:

Shortlisted for the 2007 De Jong Jury (Netherlands)
ALA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers 2006 (USA)
Shortlisted for the 2006 Wirral Paperback of the Year
Shortlisted for the 2005 Stockport Schools Book Award
Shortlisted for the 2004 Booktrust Teenage Prize
The Scotsman: Top Ten Teen Novels 2004
The Times: 2004 Picks
The Guardian 2004 Triumphs feature
Time Out: 2004 Critics' Choice
RTE Rattlebag: Books of the Year 2004
The Daily Telegraph Books of the Year 2003
BBC Radio 4 Front Row: Teen Books of the Year

Bold, chilling and beautifully written . . . it really left an ache behind.

Melvin Burgess

Stunning . . .all that is left is a feeling of sadness and loss. . .A fine achievement.

The Independent

A powerful, affecting novel about lost youth, and a sharp evocation of one boy's terrible passage from innocence to experience . . . a book we could all do with reading.

The Guardian 

If, as the novel's opening sentence informs us, 'nothing is more unsettling in this world than a kid with a gun', then it must be conceded that Whyman presents, with a vision that at times is almost frightening in its focus, a narrative which demonstrates precisely how unsettling such a spectacle is. This is a tough, uncompromising - and very impressive - piece of writing.

The Irish Times

"Excellent . .Sonny is a bit like Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas. It's a shock to realise that his relationship with Beatriz, the girl he might have loved, has been nothing more than a few shy words"

The Daily Telegraph 

A fine story, based on the child assassins of Colombia. Bloody, desperate and full of tragic pride, the sheer unfairness of the life caught between these pages makes you want to scream out.

The Daily Telegraph - Books of the Year 2003

Just occasionally, a novel hits you with such force that it takes a while for what you've read to sink in. The storyline permeates your every pore, you think over and over again about the characters.Boy Kills Man is such a book . . . A powerful novel, though-provoking and shocking.

Birmingham Post 

A terrifying book with a plot that will enthral ... Its writing style is beautiful, and though the book isn't sweet and sentimental, it's strangely moving. More chilling than a horror story, it will keep you hooked right to the terrifying end.

The Hindu 

A powerhouse of emotion and atmosphere that never fails to captivate.


Almost causes you to forget that its central characters are only 12 years old . . . this powerful novel should not be taken lightly. 

The Bookseller

The teenage fiction debate will be fuelled by Matt Whyman's novel, Boy Kills Man, which recounts the experience of a child assassin living in a South American ghetto. The fine text is surprisingly gentle - in contrast to the brutal story which pulls no punches. 

The Bookseller (Barbara Pendrigh)

  • Originally published 2004 by Hodder & Stoughton.
  • 10th Anniversary edition published July 2014 by Hot Key Books. 
  • Also published in the USA, Sweden, France, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Norway, Estonia and Holland. 

Original UK jacket




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