I love finding new authors. To stumble on the voice of a writer who makes me unaware of the passage of time, who can make me laugh and sometimes cry, is a gift. Each time I discover a new favorite, I spend way too much money gobbling up their backlist, then waiting impatiently for them to write me another book.
When I happened upon Brian Katcher’s work, he had only two books to his credit. This is extremely frustrating. (Yes, I know I have only two books to my credit and I’m slow getting the third one out, but we aren’t talking about me.) I’ve read Playing With Matches and Almost Perfect until the bindings started pulling apart on the paperbacks. They’re wonderful, each for incredibly different reasons. I had no little confidence that, no matter the premise of Mr. Katcher’s next book, I would love it. He just had to write the darn thing! Like…now!
Well, ladies and gentlemen, he finally has. To celebrate the occasion, I thought I’d put up my second ever book review.
Normally, I’d post the official blurb from Amazon, but I like mine better:
Sherman Andrews has had a ten year plan since he was eight. At seventeen, he’s going places–specifically, the Missouri Scholars Academy: a summer college program for smarties. Determined to be an award-winning journalist, he begins researching an article he hopes will further his academic pursuits.
This is where things go wrong.
From an old photograph, Sherman begins uncovering records of deaths, disappearances, and cover-ups on an almost unbelievable scale. Worse, the organization responsible is still around…and they know Sherman is putting his nose where it doesn’t belong.
With the help of Charlie–the cute, chubby student librarian at the historical society, and Denton–a mental patient with some bizarre theories, Sherman must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice to keep his own dreams alive.
Everyone Dies in the End begins with a violent attack in a church. It gives us immediate reason to invest in the mystery of this book before turning us over to our main character.
To be honest, it would be easy not to like Sherman Andrews. He’s the kind of kid who should be wearing a pocket protector and thick black glasses taped together over the bridge of his nose as a warning to others: “I’m on an academic mission.”
However, told from his point of view in first person, we get inside his head and learn right away that there’s more to Sherman than his uptight behavior might suggest. We get, for example, his sense of humor. It’s subtle sometimes, but it is there. This guy sounds exactly like what he is: an occasionally obnoxious teenage boy.
His interactions with girls–in particular, Charlie–are (as is always the case with this author) sometimes cringe-worthy, but “true.” Ever wonder what the guy brushing you off is thinking? Read some of Katcher’s books. You might end up regretting that wish, because you definitely get the inside scoop.
I always say this author’s work deserves more than a YA audience, and that is especially true with this novel. The mystery has a very mature, universal appeal. The characters’ ages are younger, but the story is not limited to a high-school environment nor does it revolve around the typical angsty issues of most coming of age tales.
Instead, Everyone Dies in the End is a suspenseful, thrilling read with a good deal of humor, great dialogue, realistic characters, and a plot guaranteed to surprise you. Again, I’d recommend this to anyone.