Killing a Dead Man
When 10-year-old Danny is murdered, Jordan’s world is torn apart – until Danny returns as a spirit, bound only to his grief-stricken twin brother. The problem is … nobody else believes he is back.
Weighted by guilt and anger, Jordan continues life as an outsider. Danny may be around, but Jordan wants to know who killed him and why.
That’s when, five years after his brother’s death, Danny reveals his murderer.
With only his dead brother’s guidance, Jordan travels across the country to seek revenge. Nothing will stop him. Whoever killed his brother is a dead man walking.
“Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”
The class gathered round for a piece of the action, encircling me and Matt. Mr Anderson had only left to fetch extra copies of Othello but that’s all the time Matt would need to plant a few swift punches in my sorry face. I looked from the grinning crowd to Matt’s hard stare.
“What’s the matter?” he snarled. “Afraid I’ll smash your face in?”
My mouth was as dry as the dust under the supply cupboards. I watched him outstretch his arms and flex his fingers. The gesture was saying come and get me, but I wasn’t taking the bait. He was far bigger than me, the result of his deep-fried diet.
“Where’s your imaginary friend now?” he sneered.
“I don’t have an imaginary friend–”
“Liar. Kevin said he saw you talking to yourself again in registration this morning. That’s why you don’t have any real friends!”
He cracked his knuckles, and as I scanned the kids around us, searching for a gap in the crowd, Matt took a step towards me.
He shoved me in the chest and the crowd made a noise.
“Come on, wuss,” Matt said, looking me up and down. “Fight back or I’ll kick your teeth in.”
My palms grew moist. You’ll kick my teeth in no matter what I do, I thought.
He outstretched his arms again, this time as if offering me an easy shot. I didn’t move. Surely, he wasn’t serious.
Matt shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
His beefy knuckles slammed across my face and the crowd cheered again. Fucking… Ow! I stumbled but managed to avoid the humiliation of falling over. The gloves were off.
I saw Matt ready himself for another punch but when it came, I somehow dodged it. That’s when the air turned cooler, thicker, beside me. My forehead tingled and my body buzzed with a new energy. Although I couldn’t see him, there was no mistaking Danny’s presence.
And there was nothing I could do to stop him intervening. He felt colder than usual – a sign I’d come to recognise as him gearing up for something.
Please, I thought, directing it to Danny. Don’t do anything dangerous …
He’d already left my side, though
Interview with Jordan Richardson
Gaming – Mostly PS4, sometimes on PC. I like to hit 100% on all my games.
Gaming, I suppose. Or watching films. Sometimes I babysit for Mum and Dad.
My new phone – which is my dad’s old one. There’s also some loose change and… a crumpled-up tissue with dried baby vomit on it. And in my back pocket I have a blue crystal on a chain. I bought it last week – It’s something new I’m trying.
- Hmm…Well, I’m definitely a good gamer. I thrash pretty much everyone online.
- Football trivia. The only person who could top me is probably my dad but even then, he struggles to remember the more recent players and team changes.
- Does talking to dead people count?
- I suck at so many things, but I’ll try to narrow it down to three. I suppose the obvious one is socialising. I can’t seem to be normal around people. I either piss people off or they think I’m a complete weirdo.
- Maths. Algebra and the Pythagoras theorem shouldn’t exist.
- I can’t climb. Whether its ladders or mountains – I don’t wanna know.
‘Skills’? You mean like, talking to spirits? I dunno. I’ve read a lot of stuff online but most of it I figured out myself through trial and error with Danny.
I like that he’s an honest guy. What you see is what you get. Oh, and the fact that he carries a knife. I mean, that’s pretty frickin’ bad ass. I don’t like how short-fused he is, though. If he disagrees with something – which seems to be most of the time – he’ll let you know.
I have no idea. My favourite subject is Psychology – I liked looking into everything Dr Ashton diagnosed me with, so I guess I’d like to study that at Uni and see where it takes me.
God, I hate this question. Um… maybe at Uni. Hopefully I’ll be able to drive by then and I’d definitely like to have a beard. Actually, I’d also like to understand the whole ‘communicating with spirits’ thing a bit more.
Besides the obvious when I went after my brother’s killer…?
Hmm… well, I may have stolen a belt from some ‘designer’ clothes shop when I was thirteen. Looking back, I don’t know why I did it. I was caught by security before I reached the end of the street. The whole thing was frickin’ embarrassing. I would never have worn that stupid skull and crossbones belt anyway.
No. I’m still paying back Mr Butch though…
Cillian O’Hagan. I don’t want to talk about it.
Peacefully, in my sleep. Family around me. No regrets. Old.
‘Live in Peace to Rest in Peace’
Or is that a bit cheesy?
Interview with Mr Butch
Not really. I like watchin’ TV and goin’ to the local pub. I did go through a phase though a few years back where I played a lot of online poker.
Not too long ago I’d be taxiin’ drunks in and out’ve town. Nowadays though, I’m either at home lookin’ after my mother or I’m at the pub downin’ a few pints.
A scuffed, fake-leather wallet with hardly anythin’ in it, my out-dated phone with a recently cracked screen, a Snickers wrapper and a folded job advert I’d cut out my aunt’s newspaper.
- I’m good at most DIY – I can build IKEA furniture in a matter of minutes.
- I’m a pretty decent cook.
- I handle a firearm really well. In fact, I can still assemble one blindfolded.
- I’m not good at holdin’ my tongue. Then again, if someone’s mouthin’ off, why should I?
- I’m really bad with technology, that’s why I still use this old brick of a Nokia.
- I suppose I’m not the best with money, not that I have a lot of it…
That’s an easy one. Army. Fitness, stamina, will-power, survival… every life skill I have was drilled into me during my days in the TA, now known as the Army Reserve.
Actually, my mother taught me some real important lessons too – it’s thanks to her I can cook better than most men I know.
He’s a good kid. I’ll admit I misjudged him at the start but can you blame me? He acted so bloody guilty. I like his determination, though – you can’t teach ‘guts’; you either have it or you don’t, and he’s got it. What do I like least? Well, he’s a kid, ain’t he? Doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. And he still can’t follow a single damn instruction.
I’ve always wanted to be a soldier – except when I was twelve, when I wanted to be a fighter pilot. That ended straight after I went on some ‘X-treme’ rollercoaster at a crappy theme park with my mates. I threw up half way through the ride and was ill for the rest’ve the day. Nerves, I can handle, but my body didn’t take well to G-force. I went back to wanting to be a soldier again.
This question is pointless. Life takes you in so many directions. Do you mean where I’d like to be or where I’m likely to end up? Because I don’t see any drastic changes happenin’ to me between now and then. I’m almost 40; if I can keep my health and actually land a job that pays enough and doesn’t make me wanna off myself then, great.
Honestly, you don’t want to know. Sergeant’s orders – no questions; you just get it done.
Why d’you want to know?
I dunno. I hate most people but that’s different to despisin’ someone, ain’t it?
Sacrificin’ myself for a good cause. I’d like my death to have meanin’, even if it’s only on a small scale
I don’t want a headstone. I want to be cremated then scattered wherever. Could be the nearest beer garden, for all I care. I’ll be dead – what does it matter?
‘Killing a Dead Man’
Supernatural Done Right
Killing a Dead Man by Siobhian R. Hodges, is the story of Jordan Richardson, the twin brother of Danny, a ‘spirited’ spirit if there ever was one. It is no spoiler to tell you Danny was murdered because that incident forms the gist of the engrossing tale. As the result of his twin brother’s murder, Jordan gained the ability to interact with the supernatural. Growing frustration, as the police fail to find the killer, pushes Jordan into a singular quest to find his brother’s murderer. Jordan is fixated, for lack of a better term, on solving his brother’s murder. Mundane humans think Jordan is crazy, and his reaction to non-believers seesaws between anger and despair. Jordan can interact with Danny, but Danny controls those interactions.
Sympathizing with Jordan was an up and down carnival ride. In some ways, Jordan was difficult to bear. His obstinance was palpable but understandable based on his life dealing with non-believers, doctors drugging him, and general bullying from classmates. The only thing about the story that strained my credulity was the patience of Mr. Butch, the cab driver. No matter the lies, the silence, the misdirections, the unfulfilled promises, etc etc from Jordan, the man was ….. well, read the book.
Siobhian R. Hodges has a welcome ability to put into words the thoughts of a person ostracized by a society that interprets otherworldly abilities as abnormal ravings of a tortured mind. Jordan Richardson definitely has a tortured mind, blaming himself for his brother’s death. In order to help the reader understand the background of Jordan’s feelings, Hodges includes several chapters with past history detailing the activities of Jordan and Danny which led to Danny’s murder.
The story flows well, building to a satisfying conclusion. It is well edited and the words and references to British culture are easily understandable. The book held my interest and was a pleasant read. I found myself experiencing the frustrations of Jordan as he coped with supernatural forces that his living companions couldn’t perceive. I wanted him to succeed.
I rate the book, Killing a Dead Man, as an overall 5 out of 5.
4th November 2019
A real page turner
Really enjoyed reading this book. Keeps you wanting to know what will happen next right up until the end – can’t wait for the next one!
5th December 2019
Brilliant read, and hopefully first of many
Full of imaginative descriptions that make you feel like your really there, killing a dead man brings you down a exciting path showing just how far you will go for your siblings…. great read and I highly recommend to anyone.
26th October 2019
Worth a read won’t be disappointed well done Siobhan
13th December 2019
Never wanted to put it down!
Without any spoilers, this book is an amazing read! At the end of every chapter you just wanted to read on and find out what would happen to Jordan.
Being really close with my brother the storyline was very relatable, and I loved the supernatural element as you follow the main character throughout his journey.
Each chapter ended on a cliffhanger and i was routing for Jordan throughout, the ending was extremely satisfying. I really loved this book and would recommend to any teenager or adult that enjoy a well-written thriller with a heavy tie into a sibling friendship.
14th December 2019
The story is well written and moves very well. I liked all the characters and their personalities fit nicely in the storyline.
This book really grabbed my attention from the beginning and I was finding myself trying to make more free time to continue reading, it was hard to put down. I do not like giving away the plot so I will be a little vague but, the determination and blind faith of following his twin brother really makes you feel for him as he perseveres on his quest. He is taken on quite a roller coaster of an adventure with something always going on.
There are no dull moments in the story and some good twists that really add to it. I also like the way it ended as it does draw out some emotions, which is what a story and characters are supposed to do.
Buy this book
15th December 2019