Strong Debut Novel

Killing A Dead Man is Siobhian R. Hodges’ debut novel. It follows fifteen-year-old Jordan Richardson and the ghost of his brother, Danny, as they track down the murderer who had killed Danny five years earlier.

Before continuing with the plot I want to mention here that the book is primarily for the Young Adult reader…

As a fan of the paranormal, I was instantly intrigued by the book’s blurb, and was pleased to find that the book came up to my expectations. Danny’s ghostly activity is most similar to reported poltergeist activity, with pinches and moving objects. Hodges uses more fictional feeling activity throughout the book, from physical apparitions to possession. However, this is a blessing in more gruesome scenes, highlighting Hodges’ ability to subtly remind the reader that the book is fictional whilst staying well-grounded in the story. Furthermore, having a dead character, with important plot information, adds a further complication to Jordan’s quest. It’s a credit to Hodges that she seamlessly integrates Danny into the book.

Jordan’s character reads as a typical fifteen-year-old – overly determined and full of emotion – his character can be frustrating to the reader whilst simultaneously gaining sympathy. This makes Jordan a character that is realistic and easy to root for.

Dealing with the realities and restrictions of being a teenager, Jordan’s age hugely affects his story and adventure. This is highlighted through the need of his Mr Butch, who is partnered with Jordan. Mr Butch is a taxi driver with seemingly endless patience, who assists Jordan and – at times – interrupts his progress. Personally, I feel that Mr Butch felt unrealistic at times, however, Hodges shows the potential to develop her ability to create characters that feel real. With short chapters, it’s an easily digestible book. Paired with Hodges’ writing style which is confident and clear and her ability to tackle heavy issues – such as grief – the book is ideal for teenagers and adults with a curiosity for darker stories and the paranormal.

Overall, Killing A Dead Man is a strong debut novel from Hodges, full of twists, cliff hangers and action that keep you reading until the end of the book.
I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future!

– E G Hegarty (Barrow Voice)