Book Review: Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday

Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday is a great book for the tween set. October is twelve, turning thirteen during the story, and starting high school young thanks to skipping a grade. She has just moved to town because of her father's new job at the school. She spends most of her free time writing a horror novel in the cemetery that sits just beyond her backyard. The perils of high school include a mean spirited math teacher, a popular girl that takes an instant dislike to her, and avoiding humiliation from her father. After some rough school episodes, October makes two friends at school, and accidentally raises some very dead kids in the cemetery and forges a friendship with them as well. School seems to level off, complete with an extracurricular activity, when October's favorite teacher dies in what is deemed a freak accident. October does not believe the story, and begins to search for the truth beyond the teacher's death. Soon she is plotting with her two separate circles of friends, living and dead, embroiling all of the kids in a murder plot, fights, car chases and a look at Canadian history that hold the key to everything.

Dead Kid Detective Agency
offers readers a nice mix of real history, murder mystery, the macabre, high school drama and some classic sleuth work a la Nancy Drew. I think that this story will be enjoyed by the middle school set and some younger teens. The mystery and most aspects of the story would do well with the young adult set, but many readers that might otherwise enjoy the story would turn from the book because of October's age. Some reviews have mentioned displeasure with the voices of the book. Initially the story is told by a narrator, October, and letters from a man named Henry. The narrator's voice tends to be the wittiest, and I think most readers will discover who it is well before the end of the book. The letter writer's identity is also revealed within the book, and carries some important clues to the mystery.

I found the Dead Kid Detective Agency to be a good introduction to a new series, which I will continue to read when the second book is published. I enjoyed October as a character, and am looking forward to seeing more of the dead kids, and hopefully more interaction between the two distinct groups of friends.
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