Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner

Aaron Rowe has a tragic past that one might think would induce erratic behavior or bouts of insomnia in Scot Gardner's The Dead I Know. Only, Aaron doesn't have insomnia. Instead, he is a somnambulist and has vivid, terrifying nightmares. This is all compounded by the fact that he lives in a trailer park with his ailing Mam and works as an apprentice for a mortician. It's a bizarre, titillating nightmare of its own accord.

The truth behind why and where Aaron lives is a dark mystery that he must solve through his nightmares, and he finds that working with the dead is somewhat comforting and helpful in his quest to remember the past. His new boss, John Barton is a sympathetic, dignified character who has suffered his own tragedy and finds similar comfort in his work. This new twist on teen literature that deals with loss and death is humorous, touching, and thrilling all rolled into one. This title almost transcends genre.

John Barton's daughter Skye and Aaron's mam offer quirky, off-beat characters to balance the stoic and sturdy Aaron and Mr. Barton. It's a well developed cast.

 For similarly engaging titles, you might try The Game of Love and Death or Love Letters to the Dead. 

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