Rotters by Daniel Kraus Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus Book ReviewRotters by Daniel Kraus
Published by Ember on 2012-04
Genres: Young Adult, Horror & Ghost Stories, Boys & Men, Family, Parents, Social Issues, Bullying
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.      Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.      Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.
From the Hardcover edition.

When Joey Crouch’s mother tragically dies, he is forced to leave his Chicago home and all that he knows to live in the small town of Bloughton with a father he has never met. Joey’s father Ken is by and large disinterested in him, lives in a shack and is collectively known about town as ‘The Garbage Man.’ Joey does not have an easy go of it in Bloughton, yet he will discover a whole other world under the earth as he gets tangled up with grave robbers in Daniel Kraus’s book Rotters.

Daniel Kraus’s writing style in Rotters is very meandering. It is quite literary. By this I mean he’s very descriptive. He uses similes and metaphors. Rotters reads more like an adult book than a YA book. I think it would be a good book to give to someone who thinks all YA is drivel, because this book is clearly not drivel. It moves at a sinister pace. There’s a slow, lingering feeling of discomfort while reading, mainly because the book just gets creepier and creepier in intensity. Also, if you want realistic teenage boy dialogue, Kraus has it in spades.

There are many cringeworthy scenes. Joey is a victim of bullying. It is taken to the extreme in Bloughton. I found that several scenes of his torment were very hard to read. I mean, the bullying is more than unkind words, but physical acts. It’s hard to stomach the cruelty of other students. However, I think this is a great thing about Rotters, that it would actually turn my stomach.

Rotters actually makes grave robbing seem interesting, although I still find the whole practice to be repugnant. And well, I doubt it is Kraus’s intention to make grave robbing appealing. However, the story line is very creative. You see, Kraus creates a whole society, called the Diggers. They have treaties, different methods for robbing graves, and are highly secretive, as society generally looks down on disturbing the dead. We actually get a glimpse into madness as one of the Diggers is focused upon, and he is so far gone that he puts everything Joey’s father, Ken, and the rest of their secret society has worked for at risk. I would say this is an excellent look at people on the fringe of society.

Rotters is an incredibly creepy book. I would recommend it to fans of The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, The Astonishing Life Of Octavian Nothing by MT Anderson, and Stephen King.

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.

Other Reviews of Rotters by Daniel Kraus:

Forever Young Adult
The Book Smugglers
Humble Reviews

Purchase Rotters by Daniel Kraus here.*FYI I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy things from Amazon after clicking link.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Oooh! Sounds interesting and super creepy! I haven’t read enough creepy books, so I definitely think I’ll have to take a look at this one!

  2. This sounds right up my alley. I’m way overly excited for what is considered Southernly lady-like after reading this description.
    I also liked how you used the word ‘drivel’ in your review. 🙂

  3. I’ll have to add this to my list. I’m not one for “creepy” reads but you’re review has me interested.

  4. Great review. I like creepy, but not a big fan of literary prose type writing. I may look at it the next time I’m in the bookstore, it may surprise me.

  5. Can you imagine the kind of research that went into writing this novel? I haven’t heard a lot about Rotters but after reading your review, I’m intrigued.

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