Title: The Dead
Author: David Gatward
Series: The Dead #1
Genre: YA Horror
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Summary (from Amazon)
Lazarus Stone is about to turn sixteen when, one night, his normal life is ripped to shreds by a skinless figure drenched in blood.
He has a message: The Dead are coming.
Now Lazarus is all that stands in their way. To fulfil his destiny, he must confront not only the dark past of his family, but horrors more gruesome than even Hell could invent. And it all begins with the reek of rotting flesh …
What’s Good About It
It’s really good fun. And disgusting. The fact that it opens with a chapter called ‘Rotten Meat’ says an awful lot about the book. There are gruesome monsters, gory battles, and a magnificently grotesque good guy (or is he?) too.
The pace is intense, never letting up for a second, and in this sort of book that’s important. It’s aimed at an audience not known for giving much time or attention to reading, so it has to hook them fast and keep them hooked. It’s also pretty short, which is nice – again, the teen boys it’s marketed to aren’t likely to hang around for long (generally speaking, of course) and as for the rest of us – there are only so many exploding body parts we can take.
Lazarus Stone is a great character – a real everyday lad with daddy issues and a distaste for the education system. One of the major factors that prevents boys reading (apparently) is their difficulty in relating to the characters in books. I doubt many will have that problem with Lazarus.
What’s Not So Good
I wonder where it can be taken next. Well, I know where it’s going to be taken next because of the cliffhanger ending, but still – we’ve had the Dead escaping from their dimension, we’ve had grisly action scenes and gruesome descriptions. I’m worried it will all get a bit old after a second and third book.
(View the book in pictures here)