I loved this book.
Before I talk about the book itself, though, I need to talk about the author’s note. In it, Lurie takes on the six passages in the bible which many point to as evidence that homosexuality is a sin. She turns each one over on its back and says, “No, it could well have meant another thing. It could have referred to cultic sexual practices or mob violence or pagan religious practices. Not homosexuality.”
The reason I refer to the note first is because Lurie and her protagonist are re-examining their fundamental beliefs passed to them by their respective parents. The protagonist, Noah, thinks he is more liberal and tolerant than his father who is the Bible Answer Guy. But when Will, a young gay boy, befriends Noah, Noah finds out how intolerant he is. When Will becomes the third murder victim, Noah is pressed to find the killer to avenge his own rejection of Will.
Like Noah, Lurie discloses that she was raised in a strict evangelical home where she too struggled with many intolerant beliefs. She handles the struggle well with her protagonist and she handles it well in her author’s note. I love Lurie’s gentle authority. I love how she crafted an issue book within a murder mystery genre. And I love how, at the end, she suggests that each of us, like her protagonist, must take our own authority and not be led blindly.
April Lurie is a fascinating young adult (YA) author. Or maybe it’s fearless. She charges into new YA genres without hesitation. Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn was a historical novel. Brothers, Boyfriends and Other Criminal Minds was a comic romp with the mob. The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine was boy’s coming of age story. The Less Dead is a murder mystery. Each book is distinct and well crafted. Check them out.