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The Road Of The Dead Hardcover – March 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Ruben Ford, 14, feels things. When his sister is murdered on the English moors, he knows she's dead even though he's home in London. He and his brother, Cole, 17, are freakishly linked by Ruben's power to feel what Cole feels. The teens travel to Dartmoor to find Rachel's killer and bring her body home. They're received by a Dickensian assortment of sadistic thugs, greasy criminals, and corrupt cops, all hiding something. Brooks's feel for mood and setting is as masterful here as in his taut, noir Martyn Pig (Scholastic, 2002). A haunting, tense drama builds from the first line and only lets up for scenes of brutal, vivid violence that bring readers back down to earth. The murder is all but solved by the second half of the book, and the pace falters a bit as the resolution becomes obvious. However, Brooks sustains a mythical aura throughout, and rapid-fire action should keep teens engrossed. Ruben is vintage Brooks: sensitive, strange, and wholly three-dimensional. The dialogue between the brothers is crisp and natural, and often funny and touching at once. Cole is perfectly drawn as Ruben's tough, detached counterbalance. Brooks shows that the real magic between the brothers is their ferocious love for one another, and he does so brilliantly.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Fourteen-year-old Ruben Ford is sitting in his father's junkyard when he knows--knows--that his older sister, Rachel, has been raped and murdered. Perhaps it is his Gypsy blood that gives him second sight; Ruben can see and feel things others can't. He knows, for instance, that his ice-cold brother, Cole, is going to get into--and cause--trouble when he decides to go to desolate Dartmoor, where Rachel met her end. Brooks' great strength is his talent for intense description; he makes readers see, feel, and smell all that Ruben does--most of it coarse, disgusting, and ugly. The author uses an interesting technique to heighten that effect. Psychic Ruben can see things happening miles away, so Cole's battles with those responsible for Rachel's death are literally seen through Ruben's eyes. However, as in Kissing the Rain (2004), Brooks has trouble tying up loose ends. Thus, the question of how Cole comes upon a key piece of evidence is brushed away with Ruben's comment, "Does it matter?" Readers have sat through a lot of brutality (albeit strikingly written brutality) to get that information, so the answer is, well, yeah, it does. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; First Edition edition (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439786231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439786232
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,983,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I usually don't pick up books at the library unless the inside front cover synopsis hints at romance or humor. The Road of the Dead hinted at neither, but something made me take it anyway. Perhaps I was just tyring to convince myself that the above statement wasn't true.
I wasn't expecting to be moved by this book -- I thought maybe I'd like it, maybe not. I didn't think it would make much of an impression on me. But I was wrong.
I really liked the portrayal of Cole and Ruben, the brothers who are searching for their sister's killer -- not, as in most other cases, for revenge, but simply so that they can bring her body home and bury her. The brothers are different -- as Ruben says, his mind is fast but his fists are slow, and Cole's mind is slow but his fists are fast -- but each is skillfully drawn. And the relationship between them is wonderful. It is the unattainable epitome of sibling relationships, and yet somehow realistic. It is the driving force behind the book, and a powerful force it is.
The Road of the Dead contains a slightly supernatural element, but it is worked in so seamlessly that after closing the book I found it odd that people can't see through the eyes of others who are far away in real life. It makes the story more complete, as well, and helps to give a first person narrative omniscience.
This book is well written and engaging, and I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ruben knew exactly when it happened. He was sitting in the backseat of an old Mercedes in his family's salvage yard when the feeling came over him. Ruben often left his own body and could attach himself to others. He could sense their thoughts and emotions. This is what happened when he felt his sister, Rachel, get attacked and murdered. He knew exactly the moment Rachel's life was taken from her.

Even though he knew it had happened and knew that the Dead Man killed her, Ruben didn't say anything to his family. He hoped he might be wrong. He realized he wasn't when the police contacted the family. The details were simple: Rachel, nineteen years old, was visiting an old school friend in the small village of Lychcombe on Dartmoor. After her visit was over, she left and made her way toward London to return home, but never made it. Her body was found the following morning, strangled, raped, and battered.

The most important thing to the family was to get her back. They wanted to bury her and put her to rest. After a trip to the police station to find out how long her body would be held, the family found out that the police would keep her until the case was closed; meaning the murderer had to be caught. The problem with that was, Ruben knew the murderer was already dead and buried and the case wouldn't be solved anytime soon.

Ruben's older brother, Cole, wasn't going to sit around and wait. He planned to go to the village to find out what happened himself and he planned to go alone. He didn't want his younger brother going along to worry about. Ruben knew what Cole was thinking, though, and his mother wanted him to go along to make sure Cole didn't get himself hurt. Cole's temper tended to get him in trouble.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Louis Baumgart on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
We start out with young Ruben Ford having a psychic experience, learning that somebody has killed his sister Rachel. Then the police show up and inform his mother (Mary) and his brother (Cole), his father is in prison for manslaughter, that his Rachel's body has been found, and it hadn't been an easy death. Ruben has another vision, and he knows that the person who killed Rachel is now also dead. Then the police inform the Fords they can't take Rachel home until her murder is solved.

Ruben's is a tough family of lower class, Irish/English citizens, they have no faith that the police will find out who killed Rachel, or why, and they don't care. Ruben and Cole are dispatched by Mary to go to Dartmoor to retrieve Rachel's body and bring her home, and to do this they have to find out who killed her, and where his body is buried.

Arriving in Dartmoor, they call Abbie, Rachel's friend, the woman that she spent her last night with, and arrange for her to put them up. Right away they know that something is wrong, as Ruben and Cole can get no answers or service in the local tavern, the local police warn them off, there is an attempted assault, and it seems that most of the businesses have closed up, making Dartmoor a virtual ghost town.

Abbie is not happy to see them, and seems to be hiding something, her husband Vince is even less happy, and seems to be hiding even more.

The more that they ask, the more they are threatened, and there are several violent confrontations and they are taken in finally by gypsies, who had a vision themselves that Dartmoor was the place that they had to relocate to.

Things start to unravel as the Ford boys are nobody to mess with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Boroff on December 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read many books by Kevin Brooks before, including Candy, Kissing The Rain, and Being, and this one was just like all the others. The topics are really well thought out and have very deep meanings, but the author has a lot of repitition. There are a lot of very interesting things that happen in this book that make your skin crawl but I couldnt tell you how many times i read that Ruben was "gone", or not himself. Using different words yes, but all having the same meaning. The story tends to circle itself in many ways where it was very easy to skim and still know exactly what was goes on.

The story has two main characters named Ruben and Cole who set out on a crazy adventure to find out who raped and murdered their sister Rachel. Ruben has a talent in which he can be with people. He has feelings or what common world may call psychic abilities. He is with her when she dies and has these "feelings" all throughout the book which help him and his brother on their quest. The arrive in the town where Rachel was murdered and start asking questions soon finding out that no one wants them there butting their heads into their business. When the boys don't give up, the secrets of the town and what happened to Rachel are revealed and utter chaos is let loose.

The book does get brutal and there are points where I did feel sick to my stomach or like I was about to cry. One area where I think the author does his best is in his voice. When he writes, I feel exactly what he wants me to feel such as happy, sad, or disgusted. All in all, the book is exactly what i thought it would be. It was good and I would recommened it to almost anyone (of appropriate age for such topics), much like all his other books, but I have read better.
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