The Morgue and Me

Published By: Viking Juvenile

Book Category: Fiction, Mystery & Detective

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

In his first novel, author Ford introduces readers to eighteen-year-old Christopher Newell. Because his hobby is astronomy and both of his parents are professors at the local university, Christopher had expected to spend his summer working in the Astronomy Department. However, after an unfortunate incident the night of his senior prom (which he did not attend) that job was definitely out. So when he saw the want ad in the newspaper for a part-time janitor at the local morgue, he decided to apply.

Even though the job sounds sort of macabre, it really wasn’t. He was to come in a couple of times a week and sweep up. But then came the morning when he arrived and the coroner was obviously conducting an autopsy and the sheriff came out and told him to leave. Wanting to hang around a little while longer, he went into the coroner’s office to peek out into the autopsy room. While there, he found a huge amount of cash stashed in the coroner’s briefcase. From that moment on, Christopher Newell’s summer got a whole lot more interesting!

This is an amazing book really. It’s being marketed as a young adult novel for ages twelve and up, but in no way does it come across as such. There is no graphic sex or violence, but many crime novels manage to tell the tale without those. Although the protagonist and some of the other characters are teenagers, there are many adult characters as well. There is a bit of teenage angst, but none that would kick it out of the ranks of adult fiction.

The protagonist’s voice is one of a worldly, bookish teen who has a wicked sense of humor concerning his slightly offbeat family. This humor comes through in witty dialogue that really moves the novel along at a snappy pace.

Is The Morgue and Me a young adult book? It is rated ages 10 and up, and though teens will surely enjoy it, to me this is just a very well-written, finely plotted book from beginning to end to be enjoyed by all ages.

Armchair Interviews agrees: This is a 5-star read.

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