Dead Rules

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I’ve never written a book review before, so let me apologize in advance if it’s terrible. I figure I owe it to Randy Russell to try since he was kind enough to send me a signed copy of Dead Rules. This may end up being more a synopsis than a review, but what do I know? If you plan on reading Dead Rules (read it!) then you might want to stop here so I don’t ruin it for you. (Thank you so much!) Here goes:
If I had to describe Dead Rules in one word, it would be: Clever.
Jana loved her boyfriend to death.
Jana Webster is an actress. She’s not too pretty (like her drug addict mother) but she’s going places. As soon as she graduates she’s going to Hollywood to make it big. Jana loves to think about herself and her future and all the amazing things she’s going to do with her life. She’s very aware of her abilities—not so much about others. Michael Haynes, Jana’s boyfriend, is going to go with her to Hollywood. Of course he is. Why wouldn’t he? They’re Jana and Michael of Webster and Haynes. Everybody knows that.
Jana loved her boyfriend to death.
All of her dreams are shattered when she ends up in Dead School after a freak bowling accident. I have to give credit to Randy here; he kills people in seriously creative ways. Jana can’t believe it. She died alone! How long will it take Michael to die too? Surely he can’t live without her. They’ve been together forever. They had plans—a future! Shared dreams. They were never going to part. Even death couldn’t keep them from an epic love like that.
Jana loved her boyfriend to death.
In Dead School Jana meets the dead kids. Stretchers, who are just what you think, bodies on stretchers. It took me a really long time to understand that and I work in a hospital. Wow. I know. I was disappointed in me too. Grays are kids who have committed suicide. They’re depressed and not trustworthy because they are loyal to the Regents who control Dead School. They don’t do much other than keep to themselves and follow orders. There are Virgins who died before, well you know. They’re ethereal and gorgeous and wear long white gowns and sing pretty. They don’t do much except sing. I don’t think you’re allowed to talk to them. Next are Sliders. Sliders are closer to the earth (or The Planet) than the other dead kids. They can manifest their bodies on the earth and be seen or heard by people. They’re also the bad kids, and were doing something bad when they died. Sliders basically do what they want, what hope is there for them? They’re bad. Finally, we have Risers. This is what Jana is. Risers are the good kids (not as good as the Virgins, but still good.) They follow the rules at Dead School. They go to their classes and wear their school uniforms properly and don’t do anything crazy—that’s left for the Sliders. As a Riser, Jana is alone. But she knows as a Slider, she could naturalize on The Planet and kill Michael. She would end his suffering and they would be together forever! Didn’t he want that? Of course he did.
Jana fantasizes about how to kill Michael, bullet, knife, poison, spider, hairdryer in the bathtub. In Dead School, you look just like you did when you died. Lawn dart to the head? That stays with you, bobbing from your skull like a lopsided metronome. Sliced in half by a tin roof? You can take your body apart and dance the jig forwards and backwards. Major road rash from a motorcycle? You’re missing half your face, including lips, eye, skin, etc. Swallowed a bird? You spit feathers and sound like there’s something trapped in your throat. Jana doesn’t want Michael to be ugly, so she has to think of some nice way to kill him.
Jana loved her boyfriend to death.
Jana enlists the help of Mars Dreamcote, a gorgeous bad boy Slider who breaks all the rules. But Mars has a secret of his own, a secret the leads him to helping Jana, even though he knows the truth. He was there when Jana died. It wasn’t a freak accident at all. It was murder.
Mars takes Jana through the steps to becoming a Slider, a truly bad dead kid. But once she’s ready to finally have Michael again, will she still want him?
Jana loved her boyfriend to death.
OH! The suspense! Sorry, I’m not going to take you through the end; you’re going to have to read it yourself!
Dead Rules is a fun read. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Randy throws in a twist just to keep you unsettled. You find yourself caring for the dead kids and the horribly creative ways they died. At the same time, you’re laughing at them. It’s okay, I won’t tell that you laughed at the girl with the lawn dart sticking out of her head. It is funny.
The bottom line? Dead Rules is a great read. Intriguing, amusing, and truly enjoyable. It has enough plot twists and turns to keep you guessing and plenty of things that you’ll never see coming.
Thank you once again Randy! (Follow Randy on Twitter!)
All the best,

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