Sunday, July 23, 2023

Today's read... Thomas Creeper and the Purple Corpse by J.R. Potter

Today's read dips into the macabre but should be a treat. I've been looking forward to this one, since it promises to be quite original and carry a balanced mix of horror and humor.

by J.R. Potter
Black Rose Writing
YA Paranormal Mystery
327 pages

Fall arrives in the miserable seaside town of Gloomsbury, Massachusetts like a fresh corpse—cold, gray, devoid of life. After vanquishing an undead Victorian monster with his best friend Jeni Myers over summer break, the last thing Thomas Creeper wants is another supernatural mystery to solve. There are caskets that need polishing at his family's funeral home, and all that new homeschooling work his mother keeps piling on. But Thomas has a big secret: he's a Fixer, a detective for the dead, and his powers are just beginning to sharpen. When corpses start washing up on Gloomsbury's shores, dyed head to toe in strange purple ink, Thomas realizes he might be the only person alive who can stop the killer's reign of terror. And he won't be alone. After the most important person in his life bails on him, a new core of allies—both living and undead—arrive on the scene, showing Thomas Creeper that there is one force greater than friendship. Dive into the series Booklist hails as "marvelously macabre" and follow the clues along with Thomas as past and present, horror and humor collide on the page, brought to life from the wild and unsettling mind of J.R. Potter.



Delightfully dark twists with clever humor in a tale, which invites to dig deeper with every page.

Thomas lives in Gloomsbury, Massachusetts, which is as cursed as its name suggests. But then, he does spend his life at his parents' funeral home helping out, homeschooling, or just living...unlike the corpses around him. Or the ghosts. As a detective for the dead, Thomas has more than his fill of those and would, sometimes, like nothing more than to be normal. Or go out on a date. Instead, he finds himself drawn into a deadly mystery as purple inked corpses wash up on shore, and only he has a chance of finding the cause.

This was an exciting dive into a world packed with imaginative details and, yet, sticking close enough to real life to make it wonderfully haunting. The author masterfully creates a town, where all sorts of horrors and gloom wait in the shadows, but even as death and danger hang in the air, humor pokes in its head with perfect snorts and snark. Imaginative details punctuate at the right times to draw in, while the characters and their quirks add needed depth. It's well-crafted and a treat for goth fans, who enjoy a heavy dose of humor to keep things lively and unexpected.

The mystery tangles right in between all of this and promises more than a few unexpected turns. Thomas makes a detective to root for as he sinks into his role, while dealing with several usual problems this age group tends to face. It's a read to get lost in and one, where it's hard to guess what will happen next.

And here he is...

J.R. Potter is the award-winning author and illustrator of the Thomas Creeper series about a reluctant mortician’s apprentice turned detective for the dead. Thomas Creeper and the Gloomsbury Secret, Potter’s debut novel, won the 2019 Kraken Prize for Middle Grade Fiction and is now featured in libraries from San Francisco to Saudi Arabia and included in two teaching curricula in the United States and the Dominican Republic. His graphic novel work has been published by Image Comics (The Glimmer Society), and his short fiction has appeared in The Portland Review and various fiction anthologies. When not working on the next Thomas Creeper mystery, Potter writes and illustrates teen fiction for educational publishers Pioneer Valley Books and Heinemann Publishing, helping to boost literacy, empathy, and wonder in schools across the world.

Also, coming soon...

The upcoming educational series for Pioneer Valley BooksCOWBOTS, is a leveled reader series that follows a group of cowboy robots as they explore Mars, take care of a herd of "space cows," and help each other. The series follows the Flesch-Kincaid reading scale, allowing young readers to build literacy and understand concepts in a gradual and cumulative way. I had a blast taking real names and characters from the American West and turning them into fun-loving robots: Billy the Lid, Annie Spokely, Wide Phil Thick-Lock, the Clone Ranger, Chef Fry-It Earp, and Fizz "the Robot Reporter" who records all the adventures and narrates the stories. Coming to schools early 2024.

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