There's something you might not be aware of, but you should be. Allow me to clue you in: Some of the most powerful fiction coming out today is published in the Young Adult genre. No lie. Don't consider yourself too mature or too cool to read YA. I'm not talking about that Twilight crap either.
Every once in a while, a great while, you come across something truly remarkable. A piece of fiction that catches you in its opening pages and drags you along until the end. I knew from the first page or two that Daniel Kraus's Rotters is such a novel.
There is nothing new under the sun, but there are story ideas that haven't been done to death. Please do not assume that Rotters is a zombie novel. The title and the cover art could conceivably lead people to believe that this is yet another walking dead story. It isn't. Rotters is much more original than any zombie story of the last twenty years. Or ever, really.
Young Joey Crouch's sheltered life is shattered when his Mother is killed in an accident. He never knew his father, but he is about to do so. Transported from Chicago to a small town, Joey finds himself in miserable circumstances. His father is the town pariah. The old man is filthy, eccentric, and lives in a decrepit shack. He is known as The Garbageman, but is never seen collecting any garbage.
School is even worse. Joey is instantly despised and routinely humiliated by not only the students, but certain members of the faculty and administration. The omnipresent stink of his father's shack permeates Joey's body and clothes.
Furious with his situation, Joey follows his father on one of the old man's night journeys and he makes a ghastly discovery: Joey's father is a grave robber.
That's merely the tip of the iceberg in this amazing, epic novel. For Joey's father is more than just a gross old man that makes his living by robbing the dead. He is part of an old tradition and there are others scattered across the land that form a bizarre sort of guild.
Rotters is so rich in humor, insights, eccentric characters, brilliant writing, grisly scenes of horror. It's a long and enthralling story that kept me fascinated through its entire length. I've never read anything quite like it. In fact, Rotters is one of the best books I've read in the last decade. You'd have to turn to someone like Robert Mccammon to find this kind of storytelling.
I think a lot of horror readers will love Rotters as much as I did. Sadly, because it is classified as a Young Adult book, it may not find the readership it deserves. At just a little over ten bucks at Amazon, and nearly 450 pages in length, you won't find a deal this good in the small press. Rotters gets my very highest recommendation. Please, please don't miss it.