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Martyn Pig Hardcover – May 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439295955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439295956
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,279,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like its eponymous hero, British author Brooks's self-assured debut manages to be at once hard-boiled, wide-eyed and despite its downright grisly subject matter laugh-aloud funny. When Martyn Pig accidentally kills his slovenly and abusive alcoholic father several days before Christmas, he decides not to call the authorities: he is afraid the police won't believe him and, besides, he doesn't want his aunt given custody of him. An avid reader of murder mysteries, he instead works with his next-door neighbor (and secret crush), the aspiring actress Alex, first to hide the death, then dispose of the body. As if the plot weren't already thick, Martyn soon discovers that his father recently inherited a handsome sum of money. Just when it seems that Martyn is coolly transforming himself into a junior version of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley, the story takes another hairpin turn. The crisp, perceptive storytelling, like the works of writers Martyn admires (Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie), indirectly but unmistakably raises moral questions. One minor frustration: although the novel is set in England, inconsistent editing has sprinkled the landscape with disorienting Americanizations (e.g., Martin scrounges up "a dollar here, fifty cents there" for bus fare and shops at a CVS drugstore). Happily, these discrepancies don't dim the substantial pleasures of this satisfying and oddly buoyant story. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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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Customer Reviews

I look forward to reading more of his books.
Michelle
After that Martyn pushed him a little and he hit his head up against the fireplace and automatically died and did not call the police or any thing.
Stosh
I liked this book Martyn Pig because it was very interesting.
Rocio Castro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Martyn Pig is a noir in the classic sense. Brooks follows in the footsteps of the mystery writers whom he admires extremely well; he knows the genre. The twists and turns in this novel make for a gripping, quick read. Despite its sort of morbid subject matter, it turns out to be surprisingly funny. The reader can relate to the main character on all sorts of levels; this is a kid who's likeable and sort of vulnerable, and though you may think that he's a total idiot at times, you're hoping he gets what he wants in the end. Sort of. This is a book that illustrates that once you make that initial (fateful) decision, the cards fall and you just have to deal with them as they come. The way you handle the fallout shows you who you really are inside.
I don't want to go into plot -- it'll just ruin all the suspense!
I have a few criticisms: I was confused about where this story took place, at least initially. The main character had a definite British voice and throughout the story uniquely British terms were thrown around: "loverly turkey" and "bloody" and "trolley" and "bloke" and "pub" and on and on. At the same time, the author used "bucks" and dollars, referred to CVS and listened to NPR. It makes this reader wonder if the editors were trying to make the book more readable to the average American teen. If so, why not Americanize everything? Or just leave it completely British? Plenty of books originally published in the U.K. have had great success here, and not only Harry Potter. David Almond's Printz Award winner and the series by Louise Rennison (a sort of Bridget Jones Diary for teens -- also a Printz Honor) to name a few. Please don't insult the intellligence of U.S. teens!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Wojciechowski on January 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Martyn Pig to the Rescue! I was looking for a book to read my students during their weekly library time. I didn't want to bore them with a story about things that could never happen. I saw Martyn Pig, picked it up, and couldn't put it down. I read it to my students and they loved it. They kept asking me to keep reading even after the school bell had rung. It kept my interest and definitely my students'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom Carradice-French on June 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Martyn Pig is swimming in an unbearable life. It's not enough that the kids at school make pork jokes, he has to come home afterwards and deal with his alcoholic father and the fact that his mother left years ago. There's his awful Aunty Jean, who is out to try to prove that Martyn's father is unfit and to get Martyn to live with her. To add insult to injury, he has a crush on his neighbor, Alex, who's dating a real creep named Dean. Things can't get any worse, right?
The week before Christmas, Martyn's father dies accidentally. Martyn could go to the police, but he also knows there's a good chance the police will accuse him of committing foul play. On the other hand, he can't just leave the body there to rot. He ends up conspiring with Alex to hide the body, which leads to even more deception, confusion, and intrigue.
Mystery fans will welcome this first offering from British author Kevin Brooks. Martyn is believable as the unwilling introspective loner, but by far the most interesting character is Alex, who shields her true self from Martyn and consequently the reader. The one complaint is that this book seems to have been unsuccessfully doctored to make it "understandable" to Americans. The conversations are filled with British phrases like "bloody awful," but money is discussed in terms of dollars rather than pounds. Overlooking these inconsistencies, Martyn Pig is sure to appeal to those interested in eliminating the impossible, looking over the improbable remains and finding the truth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Apple on May 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read Martyn Pig from beginning to end in a brethless rush. It was a suspense novel with the perfect mix of black comedy and teen elements thrown in. The story chronicles a teenage boy, Martyn, dealing with his father's sudden death. Martyn's dad was a runthless abusive drunk, so the death dosen't really upset him at first. After weaving a web of lies to cover up what really happened, Martyn and his friend Alex find themselves caught up in a mystery much like the dective stories Martyn loves so much. It's an intricately woven book that you won't forget long after you put it down. Brooks writes with much honesty and intregity, making it feel like you're in right in the story. From the beginning to the end the book is facinating and memorable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Artur Sady on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book Martyn Pig is very intriguing and suspenseful. It will knock your tube socks off. It is about a young laddy with an intoxicated daddy. One day the young Mr. Pig makes the mistake of yelling at his drunken father. Martin shoves the drunken man to avoid getting hit by him. The drunk loses his balance and hits his cranium on the fireplace and perishes. After this the lad makes a further error of not calling the cops. This leads to a quest with Alex his neighbor who he secretly admires. They try to get the drunk's corpse out of the house without getting caught. But they have many barriers to cross. You will be astounded and stuck to the pages of the book. Get ready to embark on an astonishing journey!
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