The Less Dead by April Lurie
"Noah Nordstrom has been dissing the religious beliefs of his father, who hosts a popular Christian radio show and whom Noah accuses of spreading hate. When two local gay teens are murdered, Noah’s anti-evangelism intensifies—he’s convinced that the killer is a caller on his dad’s program.
Then Noah meets Will Reed, a cool guy. But when he learns that Will is gay, Noah gets a little weirded out. Especially since Will seems really into him. Noah gives Will the brush-off. Meanwhile, the killer is still at large . . . and soon Noah finds the next victim. It’s Will.
Racked with guilt, Noah decides to investigate. He knows the serial killer is targeting gay teens, but only those who live in foster homes, whose deaths are not that important to society; they are the less-dead. Noah, however, is determined to prove that someone cares. With the help of Will’s journal, which he pocketed at the scene of the crime and in which the killer has written clues, Noah closes in on an opponent more dangerous than he can guess."- summary from Amazon
This was a really interesting book; it combines mystery, suspense, and religious debate. The book does get quite a bit preachy, but I agreed with the pro-gay stance that many of the characters in the book had, so it didn't bother me as much. I was surprised I was able to read it as quickly as I did because I figured I might get so upset and PO'd at the anti-gay stance a couple characters had that I'd have to put the book away and calm down. I enjoyed Lurie's writing though at some times it felt a bit odd and stilted, and not at all realistic, mainly with the dialogue.
The mystery aspect of it was intriguing, and kept me guessing the whole time. I was shocked at the outcome because even though I had narrowed down the suspects to two, both of them were still odd choices and I wondered about the "why" of it all, which, by the way, is a whole other story. Right before the climax, I was seriously thinking like I was watching a horror movie- "No! Don't go in there, moron! Why are you going there by yourself?!?!" It was frustrating, but a bit funny, and also obviously necessary.
So overall, I really loved this book. It had some flaws, but the good parts outweigh the bad by a lot. Definitely a book to read if you're into mystery and religious stuff. There's an Author's Note in the back which talks about the Bible passages that supposedly mention homosexuality and Lurie debunks them all as well as talks about her own experiences growing up in a strict religious household just like my main character.
back to main page