Horror novel tests reader’s belief of right and wrong

Rotters” is a book authored by Daniel Kraus (43), published back in 2011. This story is listed in the young adult and horror fiction. Oh, and what a horror it is.

The story begins by introducing main character Joey Crouch and his mother. As the reader moves through the first chapter, it seems that the main character is an extreme worrier.

“Given the right trajectory, it can kill her and will. I built that birdhouse. It is my fault. This is the day she dies. I’m standing on the bed now. The birdhouse rights itself. My mother is still alive…” 

Throughout chapter one, Joey is constantly racked with anxiety that something, anything will end his mother’s life in a matter of seconds. The reader is left with the impression that he suffers from an extreme anxiety over death, specifically his mother dying. This thought continues until the reader is met with the real reason for his mother’s death at the very end of the chapter and realize that said chapter is a reflection of the day she had died as Joey reviewed it over in his mind. 

With his mother gone, there is no one for Joey. That is until his social worker is able to hunt down his father who Joey has heard next to nothing about. Without much preparation, Joey is sent off on a train, leaving his life behind in Chicago and beginning a new one in a small town in Iowa. 

Joey’s father, who he meets later on, is a quiet man, though strangely so. Leaving Joey to fend for himself inside of a small, one bedroom cabin in the middle of nowhere, he disappears for days on end. 

Fueled by hunger and rage, Joey is determined to find out where his father has been disappearing to. The answer is not one he would have ever expected. 

Joey is thrown into the face of death, literally, as he must learn to accept his father for the morally unjust person he is, a grave robber. 

With 448 pages, “Rotters” is sure to drive the reader’s mind through a wild ride of right and wrong, playing on the wrong side of humanities morals and maybe, for a second, leading the reader to believe in the unjust.

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