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Dead Connection (Unabridged)
by: Charlie Price
But Murray's peaceful and unusual world is torn asunder when he hears the voice of missing teen Nikki Parker, buried in someone else's grave. Pearl, the daughter of the groundskeeper and Murray's one living friend, believes in his special gift and is determined to give Nikki justice. Meanwhile, Deputy Roman Gates draws closer to solving the mystery behind Nikki's disappearance.
Publisher: Recorded Books
PRESS FOR ...
... DEAD CONNECTION
Dead Connection was selected as one of the 15 finalists for the 2008-2008 Missouri Gateway Readers Award. The book will be read by teens all over the state of Missouri and the final winner will be announced in March 2009.
It was also nominated for the 2008-2009 South Carolina, New Jersey and Georgia Young Adult Book Award.
More to follow.
The Record Searchlight
By Shannon Calder
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Mystery in life is a reoccurring theme for the author and business consultant, who said he is inspired by everything.
Price, who divides his time between Dunsmuir and Redding, is an admirer of the great unknown, what we cannot see yet feel is there.
"What we cannot see does not necessarily mean it isn't there," Price explained while sipping his iced tea.
As far as his inspiration, varying from lonely teenagers to disciplined writers, that's the joy in life -- the surprise and connectedness of it all. (The latter is a great inspiration as Price isn't disciplined enough to have a stringent writing schedule. He says he writes like an old dog trying to lie down: circling a few times, trying to get every crease in the bed perfect.) Price will be at the Holiday Inn in Redding at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as a guest of the Record Searchlight Book Club.
"Dead Connection," a first novel for Price, has had great acclaim. It's noted on the BookSense recommended reads for young-adult fiction, earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly and most recently was named to the top 10 mystery for youth by Booklist Magazine.
Price is thrilled with the acclaim for this novel. He said he wasn't expecting it and at every turn becomes more and more excited.
The mysterious success of the book is one example of what Price loves about life.
What started out as a walk in a Dunsmuir cemetery turned into a short story about an alienated and lonely young male character.
"I always thought of cemeteries belonging to the old," Price said.
But as he was walking around reading the tombstones, he began to see the ages of children who perished.
His lonely character, Murray, talks to the dead children in the cemetery and believes they talk back.
"Murray speaks to the alienated part in all of us. Who didn't feel awkward and lonely in junior high school?" Price asked.
And while those in Shasta County will recognize most of the street names and some local scenery, some names of towns and streets are fictionalized. For instance, although to the local readers the city in which the story takes place is obviously Redding, in the book the city is known as Riverton.
"I didn't want to be tied to geographic accuracy," explained Price, "I wanted the story to move in certain ways and not pretend otherwise."
Regardless of correct cartography, many adults as well as teenagers have enjoyed this book, which is always music to Price's ears.
When he originally began the manuscript, he envisioned an adult novel. But when daydreaming about the success, he couldn't relate to the visions.
"I saw myself on the Oprah stage, as all writers do, I imagine, and I couldn't figure out what I would say about it," Price said.
But what if he could go into classrooms and talk about teen issues like loneliness, suicide, relationships, without being in the role of therapist?
This is where his excitement started to sparkle.
Now finished with his third book, the dream-come-true is just starting to hit this business consultant.
"It's just starting to happen and it's so incredible," Price said, "It's such a marvelous gift."
"Lizard People," a new book by Price, will be released in August.
Those who attend the free R-S author series may be in for a sneak "Lizard People" excerpt.
Shannon Calder can be reached at email@example.com.
Is Murray psychic? He talks to the dead and comforts them in their lonely graves, even as they provide solace for him--they are his best friends. When he hears a new voice in the cemetery, he's sure it's Nikki, the cheerleader who has been missing for months. But who will believe him? He's a loser. Can he even believe in himself?
Along comes Pearl, daughter of the cemetery caretaker, who befriends Murray and tries to enter his world. Together they may prove the astonishing possibility that Nikki is closer than anyone thinks. Dead Connection twists and turns with multiple points of view. A gripping and suspenseful story by a compelling new voice in teen literature.
"Dead Connection is a smart, funny, very clever page-turner; unique and fun to read. As much as I wanted the mystery solved, I didn't want it to end. You're going to like this book."
--Chris Crutcher, author of King of the Mild Frontier and Whale Talk
"This superb debut novel concerns two very different individuals trying to discover the fate of a high school cheerleader who disappeared from a small California town. When Nikki vanishes without a trace, her disappearance devastates the community. In brief, compulsively readable chapters, the author shifts the perspective among various interested parties. Murray, a loner in high school who quietly converses with the spirits of dead children and adolescents in the local cemetery...[and a] Deputy Sheriff....As the author traces their encounters with a wide variety of people, each of whom brings them a little closer to discovering the girl's fate, he also demonstrates how each exchange alters not only Murray and Gates but those with whom they are in contact. Even the people in supporting roles are extremely well developed. Readers will find themselves rooting for these characters."
"A mystery, with a conclusion that's inevitable, but twists and turns that are not. Each brisk chapter is told from the point of view of one of the many characters....Readers will like the edginess and be intrigued by the extrasensory elements as well as the darker turns the mystery takes. This is something different."
2006 Best Books for Young Adults
2007 Georgia Peach Award
"First time author Charlie Price has written an engrossing whodunit novel called Dead Connection."