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Overview

Josh Clayton's mother has killed a man and left Josh in charge of disposing of the body. The trouble is, the body will not stay put. From dogs to low-life trailer park denizens, Josh’s life slips ever more deeply into hell as he attempts to keep the corpse under wraps. Josh, a sensitive teenager, attempts to persevere in the face of a morbid dilemma: guilt and fear over the crime conflict with his reluctant devotion to his mother. In the meantime, he has the additional task of taking care of his younger brothers ...

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Overview

Josh Clayton's mother has killed a man and left Josh in charge of disposing of the body. The trouble is, the body will not stay put. From dogs to low-life trailer park denizens, Josh’s life slips ever more deeply into hell as he attempts to keep the corpse under wraps. Josh, a sensitive teenager, attempts to persevere in the face of a morbid dilemma: guilt and fear over the crime conflict with his reluctant devotion to his mother. In the meantime, he has the additional task of taking care of his younger brothers and sister while enduring the ordinary minefield known as high school. As pressure on Josh builds to critical mass, he suddenly finds himself involved in a relationship with Michelle. She tries to understand him. And, to her credit, she almost does. Josh is forced to take a difficult stand against his own mother or never be able to move on. By two members of the faculty of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art & Design.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Written in the tradition of the after-school special where a boy from a tragic background attempts to make good, this tale is more finely tuned and with a gruesome twist. Josh lives in a trailer park with his three siblings and a single mother who sells drugs. When his mother kills her abusive boyfriend, it's up to Josh to hide the body. The artwork has a subtle wholesomeness with a '50s twang that smoothes the transitions between Josh's violent home life and his school life, where he does detention and girls leave him (possibly) false love notes. Each panel tells a story, but Rousseau's art never gets carried away with "artiness," and the quiet pathos of Josh's face provides a graphic equivalent of those elegant turns found in great short stories. The plot at times has a similar unsettling elegance, though when pieces of the body are dug up, first by dogs, then by druggies who want to groove on death, the narrative veers toward trailer trash Grand Guignol. The story clips along and is hard to put down, with at times unbearable tension. Although the execution doesn't quite live up to intentions, Josh's predicament genuinely plucks at the heart. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Josh lives in a trailer with his mother, two younger brothers, and a sister. His mother drinks and uses drugs, supporting her habit and her family by turning tricks in the city. Frequently Josh is left in charge of his siblings. One day, a stranger appears at the trailer. The stranger argues violently with Josh's mother, who murders him. Josh is forced to take the body out into the woods for burial. Josh is guilt-ridden by the gruesome murder and his part in the cover-up. He withdraws from everyone and is suspicious when Liz, one of his classmates, shows an interest in him. Ultimately Liz convinces Josh to call the police and report the crime. As the novel ends, Josh gathers up his brothers and sister and heads to his father's house. Perhaps with the help of his father and Liz, he can begin to turn his life around. The graphic format depends on a strong narrative to guide the reader from the beginning to the conclusion of the story. Unfortunately the narrative structure of this novel tends to skip and stutter in various directions almost simultaneously. This story requires a strong reader who can follow the different plots and subplots without becoming confused. It seems rather implausible as well to have a young teen capable of burying a body at the behest of his drugged-out mother. Add to this problem the gritty sexual situations and the raw language, and this book's audience is even further narrowed. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P S G (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Graphic Novel Format). 2005, NBM/ComicsLit, 160p., Trade pb. Ages 15 to 18.
—Teri S. Lesesne
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561634453
  • Publisher: N B M Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Kneece has written stories for numerous comics, including Batman: Legends of the Dark. In 1993, he came to Savannah College of Art and Design and helped found the Sequential Art and Animation Department, where he teaches comics writing.

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