×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Dead Kid Detective Agency
     

The Dead Kid Detective Agency

3.5 2
by Evan Munday
 

See All Formats & Editions


Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town; she spends her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery and it isn't long before she befriends the ghosts of five dead teenagers, each from a different era of the past. They form the Dead Kid Detective Agency, a group committed to solving Sticksville's most mysterious mysteries.

Overview


Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town; she spends her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery and it isn't long before she befriends the ghosts of five dead teenagers, each from a different era of the past. They form the Dead Kid Detective Agency, a group committed to solving Sticksville's most mysterious mysteries.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An engaging tale with a resilient heroine, a dead but lively supporting cast and enough wit to grease the wheels." —Kirkus Book Reviews (September 2011)

"Munday's new series is a welcome black sheep to this literary family, touching on various historical periods with tongue placed firmly in cheek. Fun, fresh and punchy, The Dead Kid Detective Agency adds life and a good dose of humour to Canadian history." —www.VikkiVanSickle.wordpress.com (September 9, 2011)

"Evan Munday . . . proves to be the funniest thing to hit Canadian YA since Susan Juby. . . . Munday is one to watch, as this first novel in a planned series proves in spades." —Quill & Quire (October 2011)

"This book is historical fiction with a twist of mystery. . . . A fun read for ages nine to 12." —Calgary Herald (October 2, 2011)

"Let's hope this book is the start of a series, because it's a good one. . . . This book will appeal to the same audience as the Lemony Snicket series of Unfortunate Events books, that is, bright kids and adults who have a darker sense of humour." —Waterloo Region Record (October 1, 2011)

"The 'dead kids' are well drawn and entertaining. Full marks for innovation." —Winnipeg Free Press (October 15, 2011)

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
October Schwartz (yes, October is her name) is only thirteen years old but will begin high school in a new town. She is rather nervous, knowing that she will be the youngest student in ninth grade, and she is determined not to tell anyone her age. Her mother left her with her father ten years ago, and he has been clinically depressed ever since—but refuses to get any kind of psychological counseling. October is a "goth" girl—she wears only black clothing, uses black eye makeup, and spends a lot of time writing her book, which has the working title "Two Knives, One Thousand Demons." Their new house is right next to a cemetery and she is enjoying exploring it, leaning against tombstones while she reads and writes, until she meets the dead kids. It seems that she has been reading some things out loud and has inadvertently summoned them! Meanwhile school has started. October has two friends now, Yumi and Stacy, but the super-popular Ashley has decided that she (October) is a "zombie tramp" and is devoted to making life miserable for her. One of the teachers seems especially interested and sympathetic, but suddenly he is dead—a suicide? That is what the teachers are saying, but October is sure that that is impossible, and she is determined to prove it. This is truly an interesting story; the characters seem very real, whether sympathetic or not, but readers may have a little difficulty with the point of view. It is somewhat confusing since sometimes October is the narrator, but without warning the narrator is suddenly the omniscient third person, and the author's comments are directed to the reader. The story is recommended, but that style is not. More October Schwartz books are in the planning stage. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
VOYA - Dotsy Harland
Twelve-year-old October Schwartz and her clinically depressed father have just moved to the small Canadian town of Sticksville. As if it is not embarrassing enough that October is younger than her high school classmates, her dad has accepted a position as a teacher at the school. But October is adjusting to her new situation, making friends, keeping her dad at a safe distance, and warding off the school bully. While working on her horror novel in the cemetery next to her house, she inadvertently casts a spell that raises the ghosts of several children buried in the graveyard—all of whom died under mysterious circumstances. When her mentor and French teacher, Mr. O'Shea, is killed in a freak accident on school grounds, October suspects foul play. She enlists the ghosts, who must disappear on Halloween, to make use of their supernatural abilities in solving the mystery of Mr. O'Shea's death. Together, October and her otherworldly pals are able to reveal Mr. O'Shea's secret past as an unwitting terrorist, and track down his killer. Despite Munday's somewhat distracting interjections and disconcerting shifts of October from first- to third-person, he writes with boundless energy and wry humor. The novel is illustrated with drawings by the author, and also includes a list of characters and a glossary of pop culture allusions. Younger readers will enjoy this fun, light whodunit, and Munday has definitely set the stage for more mysteries starring October Schwartz and her Dead Kid Detective Agency. Reviewer: Dotsy Harland
Kirkus Reviews

A goth teen meets ghosts, uncovers a murder and even gets a little (very little) work done on her horror novel in this mannered but entertaining prose debut.

October considers the cemetery next to her new house a nice touch, as her single father is clinically depressed and she's been dubbed a "Zombie Tramp" by mean girl Ashlie Salmons just moments after entering the "teenaged Thunderdome" of her new Ontario high school. At least she can work on her magnum opus,Two Knives, One Thousand Demons,among the tombstones—except that just reading a spell from the book calls up the friendly but rambunctious ghosts of five local teens killed over the past two centuries. Then her favorite teacher is crushed beneath a car. The police call it an accident, but October's not so sure...and with help from her motley crew of ectoplasmic allies sets out to discover the truth. Switching frequently for no evident reason between first and third person and occasionally interjecting authorial comments, Munday interweaves a brisk tale of high-school hatreds with an investigation that ultimately leads back to terrorist acts committed 40 years before and culminates in a wild Halloween climax. Munday, a cartoonist, tucks in black-and-white spot portraits and closes with notes on characters and cultural references.

Authorial tics aside, an engaging tale with a resilient heroine, a dead but lively supporting cast and enough wit to grease the wheels.(Detective fantasy. 12-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781550229714
Publisher:
ECW Press
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
8.52(w) x 5.12(h) x 0.81(d)
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt


October Schwartz is not dead.

Now, there are plenty of dead folks in this book (you read the title before starting the book, right?), it’s just that October Schwartz does not happen to be one of them. That said, it was her first day at Sticksville Central High School, and she sort of wished she were dead.

October had moved to Sticksville only a month earlier, and she didn’t know anyone yet, unless you counted her dad and maybe the Korean lady who sold her gum at the convenience store. She’d spent the month of August reading in the cemetery behind their house and working on writing her own book. So her first day of high school was even more nerve–wracking than it was for most of the students at Sticksville Central. The way she figured it, everybody was going to hate her. They certainly had in her old town. Why should this one be any different?

There were plenty of reasons for the average high school student to hate her: she wasn’t chubby, but she wasn’t not chubby, which, to those naturally inclined to be unpleasant people, meant she was fat. Also, she wore more black eyeliner than most — barring only silent film actresses, really. Add to that the natural black hair she’d inherited from her mom and her affinity for black clothing, and she was like a walking teen vampire joke waiting to happen.

Plus, she was a little kid. Due to the advanced state of middle school in her former town, a futuristic utopia of almost 40,000 citizens — most of them employed by the town’s snowmobile factory — she’d been allowed to skip grade eight altogether in Sticksville (only three hours away geographically), straight into the teenage Thunderdome of high school before she even reached her teens. She was twelve and headed into grade nine, where most of her classmates were well on their way to fourteen if they weren’t there already. This part was to remain a secret from everyone, if she had her way. But even if her classmates didn’t know, October was sure they could smell the tween on her — the stench of Sour Keys and Saturday morning cartoons.

As October pulled on a black T–shirt, she began to imagine burgeoning extracurricular clubs founded on the members’ communal hatred of October Schwartz, its members wearing T–shirts emblazoned with hilarious anti–October slogans.

October’s dad — Mr. Schwartz to you — taught grade eleven and grade twelve biology, as well as auto repair at Sticksville Central, so it was sort of his first day, too. But somehow, October doubted her dad was anxious about what people would think of his clothes and hair.

She left for school early that morning, because she was cautious about that sort of thing. About other sorts of things, she wasn’t very cautious at all, as you’ll see. She shouted goodbye to her dad, who was still busy shaving in the washroom. He didn’t respond, but he was kind of concentrating, blaring music by Fleetwood Mac or some other band from the 1970s.

She walked into the backyard and out to Riverside Drive using the cemetery that bordered their backyard as a shortcut. Mr. Schwartz had been uncertain at first about purchasing a house so close to the town’s lowly cemetery. Not that he believed in ghosts, but there was something unseemly about it to him. However, the price was good and he wanted to find a home before the school year started, so he dismissed his uncertainties. October liked it. She smiled crookedly as she passed through the wide expanse of decaying stone and forgotten names on her way to the first day of the rest of her life.

The air was crisp and a bit cold for early September, like a Granny Smith apple left in the freezer by accident. October lived only about twenty minutes from Sticksville Central, so it wasn’t long before she pushed her way through the double doors of the school’s entrance. She opened her bag and unfolded her schedule.

Evidently, October wasn’t the only student concerned with arriving early. A veritable gaggle of other kids could already be seen congregating, conversing, and giggling inside the main corridor of the school.

One of these students — a tall one with auburn hair and a belt the width of a small diving board, who was standing with some friends beside the vending machines outside the cafeteria (spoiler alert: she’s a witch) — caught sight of October Schwartz and pursued her like a fashionable, but very silent homing missile. October, who was attempting to avoid contact with anyone and everyone, hurried past her. But she wasn’t quick enough to avoid the belt enthusiast’s loud slur:

“Zombie Tramp!”

Mortified, October made a sensible, strategic retreat to the girls’ washroom, which was thankfully empty. She gripped a porcelain sink and stared dolefully at herself in the mirror. Two minutes into high school and things were off to a horrible start. But, above all else, October was determined not to cry at high school. Ever. She was still twelve, but she wasn’t a baby.

She tried to fill her mind with thoughts different from her new “Zombie Tramp” status: her birthday, her dad, and her new classes. What did Zombie Tramp even mean? Why Tramp? Why not Zombie Floozy? Yet, because she was staring into a mirror, her mind kept drifting back to her big, stupid face.

Her dad often told her she was “darn cute,” because he was related to her, but October never believed him. Her dad was no prize himself; how would he know what cute was? October did a quick self–analysis in the mirror. She might have overdone it with the eyeliner today, and maybe she should have taken more effort with her hair. Around her neck, she wore a gift left behind by her mom, a silver ankh necklace. It was probably the eyeliner and all the black that was encouraging the Zombie Tramp comparison.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"An engaging tale with a resilient heroine, a dead but lively supporting cast and enough wit to grease the wheels." —Kirkus Book Reviews (September 2011)

"Munday's new series is a welcome black sheep to this literary family, touching on various historical periods with tongue placed firmly in cheek. Fun, fresh and punchy, The Dead Kid Detective Agency adds life and a good dose of humour to Canadian history." —www.VikkiVanSickle.wordpress.com (September 9, 2011)

"Evan Munday . . . proves to be the funniest thing to hit Canadian YA since Susan Juby. . . . Munday is one to watch, as this first novel in a planned series proves in spades." —Quill & Quire (October 2011)

"This book is historical fiction with a twist of mystery. . . . A fun read for ages nine to 12." —Calgary Herald (October 2, 2011)

"Let's hope this book is the start of a series, because it's a good one. . . . This book will appeal to the same audience as the Lemony Snicket series of Unfortunate Events books, that is, bright kids and adults who have a darker sense of humour." —Waterloo Region Record (October 1, 2011)

"The 'dead kids' are well drawn and entertaining. Full marks for innovation." —Winnipeg Free Press (October 15, 2011)

Meet the Author


Evan Munday is the publicist at Coach House Books. He is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling, and the author and illustrator of the graphic novel series Quarter-Life Crisis. He lives in Toronto.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Dead Kid Detective Agency 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Do you like ghosts and mysteries? Well, this book is for you! This mystery/fiction book starts out when October Schwartz moves into town and suddenly her French teacher dies in a suspicious car accident. She spends most of her time, alone, in a cemetery trying to write a book. Eventually, she accidently called the dead kids from their grave and they become best friends. Together, they form The Dead Kid Detective Agency and try to solve the mystery of how her French teacher really died. I have never read a mystery book with ghosts as characters. It is different. It is interesting. It is cool-ish (like ghoul-ish, ha ha). Readers from ages 8 and up will enjoy this book. There are a couple of parts in this book I like, but my favorite is when she finds and befriends the dead kids. I give this book 4 stars. review by Lila H., 9, Central Pennsylvania Mensa
Ladystorm More than 1 year ago
This was a fun and interesting little story based around a misfit girl and five dead ghost kids. October dresses like a goth and on her first day of High school gets labeled a "Zombie Tramp" right away by the pretty popular girl. She is only twelve when she starts high school and trys desperatly to keep it all a secret because she doesn't want the other kids to know, since it is already hard enough to fit in. October finds solice in the cemetery behind her house and starts writing a horror novel. When she accidently wakes up the ghost of five dead teenagers she is at first a little frightened but then they soon become her friends. The only teacher that she really liked at her school is killed, but everyone thinks its a accident. October just can't let it go and that is when they form The Dead Kid Detective Agency. They set out to prove that Mr. O'Shea was murdered. I really found October to be a interesting character, some might see her as being messed up because she hangs in a cemetery but I thought it really just fit who she was and where else would you want to write about horror. Her father is stranger than she is and he is clinicly depressed. Yumi and Stacy are Octobers only living friends and they are a strange pair. (Oh by the way Stacy is a boy) There are only a couple things that I didn't like about this story. As you are reading all of a sudden you get a piece of diary from someone you don't even know. Even though you find out who this person is later in the book, it really just disrupted the flow of the book. I also did not care for the fact that Stacy never gets a last name, he is always known as Stacy not sure of his last name, or what ever his last name is and that drove me crazy. I would have prefered to just know him as Stacy. I really think that young readers will really find this mystery novel very interesting and fun to read. I would recommend it for a Middle Grade audience although I think it can be a fun light read for young teenagers as well.