Fourteen-year-old Jack Carr is The Handcuff Kid, juvenile delinquent extraordinaire, a foster kid whose one constant in life is his love and admiration Harry Houdini.
After moving in with his new foster father, a mad professor who dabbles in the world of the occult, Jack discovers he has been sold into servitude in the land of the dead.
Jack is thrust into a macabre world where the dead are in limbo and live in the Purgatory Forest. Under the evil eye of the Amazing Mussini, Jack becomes a member of a traveling vaudeville act and with a motley gang of lost kids travels around the towns of Purgatory entertaining the dead.
Having no thespian-like skills, Jacks only act is to perform the tricks of Houdini, namely the handcuff and straightjacket escapes. Jack and his new friends must escape the evil clutches of Mussini and the minotaur-like Death Wranglers that patrol the forest in order to return to the land of the living.
Jack is forced to escape a custom pair of handcuffs that Mussini designed to trap Jack in Purgatory forever, the Devils Handcuffs. To satisfy the dead, who desire increasingly dangerous tricks, Jack is forced to attempt the dangerous Chinese Water Torture Cell in an all or nothing escape plan.
Slipped between the chapters are one-page bits on the life of Houdini and his spectacular tricks. From handcuffs to straightjackets to underwater torture and death wranglers what better escapism for the kiddies and the kiddies at heart.
Like Houdini all I want to do is escape here.
Start with Jack's problem, not a description of him. Then tell us who created the problem. Then pose some questions arising from his predicament.
You've got the dog's breakfast of plot points here. Cleanup on Aisle 78