Dead Connection

November 2, 2008
By Katie Zechnich, Portland, OR

Fantasy. That's pretty good, I thought as I returned to my seat. I had just spun the genre wheel in English for our October reading assignment. When I entered the library a few days later in search of a book with a fantasy sticker to write my review on, I never imagined reading a story about a boy who can talk to dead people and the strange mystery of a teenage girl that went missing. This eerie book is called Dead Connection and is written by Charlie Price.

The book takes place in a small city, though the name of the city is not given. It happens in a modern time. A lot of the story takes place in the graveyard where Murray, the boy who can talk to dead people, goes often. That is where most of his friends are, and he makes his way from gravesite to gravesite. Another part of the book takes place around the life of Deputy Gates, which includes the school grounds where the girl disappeared from, and the hotel where Robert, another character lives.

There are many different characters. In the beginning they all seem unrelated, but in the end the different stories connect. There is Murray, the main character. He is a high schooler at the local high school and spends a lot of his time at the cemetery. His mother is often not home, and his dad is not mentioned. At the cemetery he meats a girl named Pearl, the groundskeeper's daughter. There is also Deputy Gates, the officer trying to solve the mystery of the girl's disappearance and Robert, a suspect of the crime. The girl is named Nikki. Those are the main characters in this story.

The story begins by talking about Murray, then about Robert, then about the mystery of the missing girl. Murray is ordinary, except he can comfort and talk to dead people, which he spends most of his free time doing. He soon meets Pearl. At first they argue because she doesn't want him around her Dad's cemetery, but eventually he tells her his secret and she becomes quite interested in what he hears and says to these people. One day he hears a scared and miserable sounding new voice. He wants to comfort this voice but must find where it is coming from first. In the meantime Deputy Gates is trying to solve this mystery. He figures out that Robert, who has memory problems, was there when the kidnapping happened. Unfortunately, Robert takes a long time to recall the details. At this point in the story I was really wondering what would happen, who the new voice in the cemetery was, if Robert could remember what had happened that night, and who was to blame for the tragic disappearance of this teenage girl.

I would give this Dead Connection by Charlie Price two stars out of five. I thought it was an interesting story and I really wanted the mystery solved. However, a lot of the time I couldn't visualize the characters and the setting well enough to have a vivid picture in my mind. So, I like the plot, but the author could have done a better job telling the story. Over all, I would recommend this book to people who really like creepy, mysterious stories, but it is definitely not one of my favorite books in the world.

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