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A riveting and darkly humorous accidental "murder" mystery.
Meet Martyn Pig, a boy with a terrible name, trapped in a terrible life. His mother has left him. His father is a belligerent, abusive alcoholic. It seems like his life can't get any worse.
And then it does.
Faced with the sudden, accidental death of his father, Martyn realizes that for the first time ever, he has a choice. He can tell the police what happened -- or he can get rid of the body and go on with the rest of his life. Deciding on the latter, Martyn and his pretty new neighbor come up with a seemingly foolproof plan. Then, just as Martyn begins to think his life is finally under control, a twisted turn of events leaves him stunned beyond belief.
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Kevin Brooks lives in Manningtree, Essex. He has won the Branford Boase Award and been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Book Trust Teenage book of the Year.From School Library Journal:
Grade 8 Up-Martyn Pig's mother left years ago; his father is an abusive alcoholic. Living in a dreary English seaside town, he thinks that things can't get any worse. But, in the week that readers spend with him, his life takes an even worse turn. He makes the mistake of yelling at his father; as the drunken man comes at his son with his fist raised, he stumbles, falls (with just the merest shove from Martyn), hits his head on the fireplace wall, and dies. Faced with the possibility of living with his dreadful aunt, and feeling no sense of having done anything really wrong, he decides not to notify the police. With the help of his friend Alex, he concocts a macabre, blackly humorous scene to fool Aunty Jean into thinking Dad is very ill in bed. He and Alex then sew him and some rocks into a sleeping bag and pitch him into a quarry. When Martyn stumbles across a letter informing his father of a substantial inheritance, he thinks he and Alex will be set for the future. Then blackmail and double-crossing enter the picture. She steals the money and disappears, but not before she does away with her boyfriend. In a brief epilogue, readers see Martyn in his aunt's house, in sunnier times. They will be fascinated with the gripping plot twists and turns, and fully engaged by Martyn's distinctive voice. While there are some heavy issues here, the characters are surprisingly likable, and the bleakness is tempered by some tongue-in-cheek and zany humor. Fresh and edgy, Martyn Pig will have tremendous teen appeal.
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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