Audiobook · Award Winner · Fiction · Horror · Julia P · Page-Turner · Young Adult

Rotters | by Daniel Kraus

Rotters by Daniel Kraus
(Delacrote Books for Young Readers, 2011, 464 pages)

I had been hearing a lot about this book and the audiobook got pretty impressive reviews so I went for it. There were warnings it could be a bit graphic and that was definitely the case. The narrator did a great job bringing a wide variety of characters to life. I enjoyed the book, even if it was a bit dark for my taste, and I really appreciated the author’s writing style.

Joey Crouch has recently moved from Chicago to Iowa following the tragic and accidental death of his mother. He’s never had a relationship with his father and now he’s being forced into one. Ken Harnett isn’t the easiest man to get to know or get along with. His house is more or less a cabin in the woods and it’s filled with books and old newspapers. He has done nothing to prepare for Joey’s arrival. He has no phone, no computer – he’s a man who enjoys being cut off from the world. So Joey’s new life starts off roughly. He starts school ill-prepared and almost instantly makes enemies, becoming known as “Crotch” and constantly made fun of.

Harnett is known as the garbage man but he never seems to be seen doing that job. He’ll vanish and then reappear covered in mud. Joey finally tries to figure Harnett out and discovers that his real job is being a grave robber. This explains why he’s always covered in mud and has a distinct odor about him. Joey eventually learns that this is an ancient “profession” and that there are a number of other grave robbers, all of whom have their own territory. Joey is trained by Harnett and joins the fold of other grave robbers, but there’s a source of tension. A grave robber who had been partners with Harnett has become a little “off” and he poses a threat to the rest of the group, but Joey and Harnett specifically.

This is definitely a good book to read for this period close to Halloween. The tone of the book was pretty depressing and when you combine that with the grave robbing… it’s a dark book, but a unique story.

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