Well this was just about the grossest book I've ever read.
After Joey's mother dies he goes to live with his father in a small town in rural Iowa. It stinks. Literally. His dad lives in a nasty decrepit shed of a house, there are piles of papers everywhere, and it is filthy. Not like old food filthy, just dirt and dust and the crud that builds up when you never clean. His dad is sort of like Pig Pen, if Pig Pen not only had his ever-present cloud of dirt, but also happened to stink like dead people too.
So,yeah, his dad stinks because he's a grave robber. And apparently grave robbers don't care that they stink like dead people. To be honest, I think that would probably help to blow their cover, but let's move on because that was the only thing that gave me pause in this entire awesomely engrossing (zing!) book. Let's just say that Joey wants to join the family business and the family business makes for really good reading.
Don't take this as a wacky fun-filled journey. It isn't. This is a dark, dark book and Joey's life is pretty tortured. His beloved mother is recently deceased, he had to move out of the only home he's ever known and move in with a father he didn't know he had, he's an outcast that is picked on at school. But man, once he gets into that grave robbing it really is fascinating. I loved how the author showed a secret group (Diggers to those in the know. Everyone else is just a Rotter) in society that exists on its fringes. I loved the history, the strategy, the internal conflict, the strange men who made up this world. And I especially loved the descriptions of Boggs, the outcast of outcasts, a mentally disturbed grave robber with a mission that endangers the rest of the Diggers. Boggs was the most heebie-jeebie inspiring character that I have read about in a very long time.
Not for the faint of heart, but a wholly original novel.
Book Source = Tayshas Review Copy