Grave robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It’s true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey’s life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.
Everything changes when Joey’s mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey’s father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey’s life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.
Daniel Kraus’s masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make ROTTERS a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.
"A strongly written tale of adolescence, grave robbing, and the mysteries of death, ROTTERS is uncompromising, dark, and true."
GUILLERMO DEL TORO, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, The Strain
& CHUCK HOGAN, The Town, The Strain
"Grueling, demented, and so crammed with noxious awesomeness that I had to read it twice."
SCOTT WESTERFELD, Leviathan and Uglies
"This is an unforgettable book. An unforgettable character. And an adventure that leads to unforgettable horror. I loved it."
"This is a bold, utterly fearless, uncompromising story told with such skill, with such beauty, and with such depth of focus it just warps the fabric of reality. I'm jealous of this book. I'm in awe of this book."
MICHAEL GRANT, the Gone series
"Profoundly affecting and deeply disturbing, ROTTERS kept me reading to the wee hours of the morning. A multi-layered, complex novel that pulls no punches. Terrific!"
RICK YANCEY, The Monstrumologist
Rotters Book Trailer
Hear the song and watch the video for Greifland by Vorvolakas, as featured in ROTTERS.
from Random House in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio.
Sample chapters available here. (pdf)
WINNER of the 2012 Odyssey Award.
FINALIST for the Bram Stoker Award.
WINNER of the Parent's Choice Gold Award for Fiction.
Rue Morgue Magazine's Top Fiction Book of 2011.
Booklist's Top 10 Horror Fiction.
BCCB's Blue Ribbon List Winner.
Booklist's Editors' Choice List.
ALA's Amazing Audiobooks List.
AudioFile Earphones Award Winner.
Minneapolis Star Tribune Top 10 Youth Books of 2012.
Fangoria: "A NEW HORROR CLASSIC."
School Library Journal: "★ STARRED REVIEW: A frightening glimpse into the darkest depths of the human psyche. Kraus's writing is exquisite."
The Bulletin: "★ STARRED REVIEW: With a masterly touch at thriller pacing, Kraus gives the current crop of pretentiously serious supernatural YA novels a wild run for their money."
Booklist: "★ STARRED REVIEW: A tour-de-force combination of reader and writer."
Rue Morgue: "For the horror genre, it may just be the coming-of-age novel of our young century."
Kirkus Reviews: "A cerebral romp through a fascinating, revolting underworld."
The Millions: "One of the darkest, wildest, most unsettling adolescent novels I’ve ever come across... In a world rife with oatmealy workshop-cookie-cutter fiction, Kraus is absolutely original. There’s something to be said for taking a dose of such wildness–such tumbling, aggressive, unkempt fiction–every now and again."
Locus Magazine: "This novel hit me like a sledgehammer, making me feel upset and uncomfortable even when I wasn't listening to it. It's a masterful work."
VOYA: "The twists and turns will leave readers gasping."
VOYA (audio): "Never would I have thought I could call a book about digging up dead bodies beautiful."
Boing Boing: "As suspenseful and masterfully told as it is gruesome and terrifying."
School Library Journal: "A gripping and emotional tale. Kraus's exquisite grasp of the English language makes the descriptions come to life."
Winton-Salem Journal: "A nightmare-inducing, page-turning, gruesome, psychological read."
Dreadful Tales: "The most important, dangerous, and incredibly entertaining YA novel you will ever read."
Publishers Weekly audio review: "Full of moments of sorrow, surprise, drama, adventurous excitement, and creepy darkness."
Bookshelves of Doom: "Give to those who read National Book Award winners... An exploration of humanity and mortality; of respect and revenge; of family and solitude, guilt and redemption."
Booklist interviews DK: "I set out to write the best horror novel of the year."
Horror Drive-In: "Truly remarkable... one of the best books I've read in the last decade."
Bloody Disgusting: "A gleefully grisly coming-of-age story, a literary horror novel rooted in the real. This guy can seriously write."
Innsmouth Free Press: "An interesting and daring book... you’ll love every shovelful."
The Deepening: "A fantastic and aggressively addictive novel, and may be one of the rare books I end up reading again and again."
Horror News: "I’ll be damned if Daniel Kraus doesn’t kick the door right off the hinges. Powerful and moving."
Austin American-Statesman: "A complex story about fathers, sons and the sobering pull of mortality."
NewCity profiles DK's books & films.
School Library Journal examines ROTTERS at length.
Time Out Chicago: "A refreshing take on the teenage outsider story, bolstered by a rich and inventive legend."
YALSA: Gruesomely Irresistable Books.
The Inner Bean: "Kraus’s writing is hypnotic, scaling dark, poetic heights that left me breathless."
Hellnotes: "Warped and twisted in humor, and ghoulishly frightening."
The Chicago Tribune interviews DK.
Forever YA: "As if Flannery O’Conner took a bad LSD trip after watching Faces of Death."
Annie Moore Books: "Beautifully written, raw and dark."
Night of Living Podcast discusses Rotters!
Worsmithsonia: "I'm not sure I'm capable of ever expressing how much I loved this macabre blend."
Elliot Bay Book Company: "Extremely well-written, with a style and a substance that I haven’t seen in a YA book in awhile."
Stephanie Reads: One of the seven best books of the year. "These dead bodies are better developed than some protagonists I’ve read."
Calgary Herald: "The physical and mental struggles make you want to turn away, but you won't."
Horror World: "A complex, challenging, gut-wrenching book."
My Bookish Ways: "Fascinating, horrifying, and heartwrenching. If you haven’t discovered this writer yet, what, exactly, are you waiting for?"
Diary of a Bookworm: "Truly the best horror novel I've read in a long time."
Twisted Literature: "By far--by FAR--the creepiest, most disturbed thing I have read to date."
The Scribbler in the Rye: "Macabre, morbid, monstrous... and mesmerizing."
Notes from the Bedside Table: "What an amazing book... Absolutely fascinating."
Misfit Salon: "Rotters must have flaws but I cannot think of any. A breathlessly macabre creation of horror and pathos. You will be too thrilled to stop turning the pages."
Chicagoist: "Dark, macabre, and weird."
Escapism Through Books: "★ ★ ★ ★ Gorgeously descriptive and evocative."
Muggle-Born: "Unlike any other book I've read. Gritty, graphic, violent, gut-wrenching, and so, so addicting."
The Lone Writer: "I was totally captivated... A bizarre story that I absolutely loved."
Cucchetti Recommends: "By turns both brutal and mesmerizing."
Humble Book Review: "★ ★ ★ ★ Dark, creepy, twisted, suspenseful and more than a little shocking."
Miss Literati: "Masterfully written."
Book Loving: "★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Brutally honest and holds back nothing."
Random Acts of Reading: "One of the best books of 2011."
Many Cats Manor: "Light years away from other novels of that genre."
Feathered Quill: "The writing is masterful."
Book Smugglers talks to DK about cinema's best grave robbing scenes.
Time Out Chicago talks to DK about ROTTERS.
Little Squeed: "5/5 STARS: Devious, wicked, sick, twisted, horrifying, sentimental, emotional, heart-wrenching and tear-jerking."
Largehearted Boy presents DK's black metal playlist!
Tracy's Happy Bookshelf: "Leaves you speechless, numb, breathless, disgusted, and creeped out, but all in a good way."
The Inner Bean talks to DK about ROTTERS.
Encore interviews DK about books, movies, etc.
Chicagoist interviews DK.
Forever Young Adult conducts a bizarro interview with DK.
Life, Words, & Rock n Roll interviews DK.
Cynsations: DK on writing dark fiction.
Good Books & Good Wine: "Incredibly creepy."
Ingram Library Services: "A creepy, satisfying read."
New York Post mentions DK's books & movies.
Book Divas: "One of the most original novels I have read in a long time."
Fishmuffins of Doom: "Kraus' masterful writing almost leaps off the page."
Absolute Forest of Words interviews DK.
The Thing about Books: "4 stars: OHMYGOSH!"
Rambles: "A dark, disturbing book, and one that is very hard to put down."
Stacking Books: "The most realistic cast of abnormal people I've ever read."
Oops, Wrong Cookie: "Not for the faint of heart, but a wholly original novel."
Spokes & Pages: "Easy trumps any other book I’ve reviewed so far."
Hungry Garden Chronicles: "One of the best YA books I’ve read this year."
Pink Me: "You've got to be kidding me."
When Librarians Attack: "About as dark as possible for a contemporary realistic setting... zombie fans and gamers are bound to love it."
Adventures in Publishing interviews DK about Rotters.
Chicago Unbelievable podcast about grave robbing, guest starring DK.