The Dead I Know
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The Dead I Know

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  104 reviews
When Aaron gets a job at a funeral home, he surprisingly takes to it. But there are dark secrets hidden in Aaron’s subconscious.
He experiences dangerous bouts of sleepwalking and recurring dreams he can’t explain: a lifeless hand, a lipsticked mouth, a man,
a gun... Can he piece the clues together and fi gure out the truth of his past? For ages 14+.
Paperback, 216 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Allen & Unwin
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Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard BauerThe Dead I Know by Scot GardnerA Straight Line to My Heart by Bill CondonThe Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahanThe Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky
CBCA shortlist 2012 - Older Readers
2nd out of 6 books — 8 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John BoyneThirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherBridge to Terabithia by Katherine PatersonLiving Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Sad Young Adult books
17th out of 28 books — 60 voters

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Community Reviews

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Favourite Quote: There was the unknown, the dark, the cold and the emptiness to contend with out there, but those concepts are all relative. Cold compared to what? A dead hand? Dark compared to what? Unblinking eyes? At times the ocean seemed full beside my emptiness. At times it was the one knowable thing in my world.

The Dead I Know is a story that comes together like pieces of a puzzle. It is dark, mysterious and refreshingly different read.

This story is so different from what I expected but i...more
Shirley Marr
I got off to a bad start with Scot Gardner's writing by reading Happy As Larry first, when I should have started off by reading this novel instead! I love the cover of The Dead I Know and I love the dark premise of a teen boy undertaking an apprenticeship as a Funeral Director. We meet Aaron as he is being interviewed, accepted by his new boss John Barton and beginning his transformation with a haircut and new clothing - and I took to the quiet, tall and dark, sparsely worded boy straight away.

This review is also posted on my blog, In The Good Books.

I had no idea what to think of The Dead I Know before -- or even as -- I started. All I knew is that it was a recent Aussie release, and that was good enough for me. Though, by the end, I was pleasantly surprised.

There's a lot of mystery shrouding Aaron in the beginning. He's stoic, and initially doesn't give much away through either his dialogue or first-person narration. We understand him better once we get a look at his home life, and s...more
The Dead I Know is a gripping, emotional rollercoaster of a book. The story centres around Aaron Rowe, who has left school to train as a funeral director with John Barton, owner and operator of JKB Funerals. Aaron lives with his Mam in a caravan. Mam is not mentally sound and it makes Aaron's life very difficult, especially because he loves her so much. Their relationship is a complicated one and, without slipping in a spoiler, not what I expected.

Aaron sleepwalks, having nightmares that seem li...more
"What is life without a memory? Is it death? Sometimes memory was death - slow and painful, eating away at your insides, reeking of decay. Losing your memory would save you from that; wipe your slate clean. But the good would be swept aside with the bad. All the fine things to build a life on would be lost, leaving you just one thing - that moment. No dreams and no history. The ultimate expression of living in the now." p. 147 -148

Not since Evelyn Waugh's 'The Loved One' have I read a book set i...more
May 20, 2011 Larissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Aaron Rowe has just started his first day at his new job as a funeral director. He is grateful for the job in more ways then one, primarily because it gets him out of going to school but the bonus is he'll get payed. There are some obvious draw backs to the position, though it is not the dead bodies as one would expect, it is the living that are left behind and their grief that has stirred something in Aaron.

It has been years since Aaron has had trouble sleeping, but now the nightmares have retu...more
Powerful, haunting, and absolutely unforgettable, The Dead I Know is not Scot Gardner's first novel, or even the first one to win him recognition, but it's the first one of his books published in Canada, and one that you simply can't afford to miss. It's a tour-the-force examination of the always difficult subject of death, grief and coping with the loss of a loved one. Above all, though, it's a heart-wrenching insight into one boy's tragic life and a deeply affecting, thought-provoking and unse...more
Tom O’Connell
I was drawn to 'The Dead I Know' because of its thematic similarities to Six Feet Under. Also, it was a required class read. 'The Dead I Know' details the ins and outs of a working funeral home. But the procedural stuff [about funeral homes] was really just superficial padding, an intriguing backdrop to frame a strong, intimate narrative. It's not like this stuff wasn't interesting, though, and I do admit that it acted as a springboard on more than one occasion (laying the book's major themes ou...more
Michele Harrod
Wow, I really enjoyed this book, what a fabulous new voice, with a unique and surprising tale. It was hard to remind myself that this was intended as a Teen Novel. Despite the lead character being one, I never felt that I wasn't reading a serious adult novel. As someone who herself applied to work as a coronary assistant at the age of 16 and was turned away due to my age, I was fascinated with Aaron's ability to face the dead, and his feelings around them. This book was quite different to what I...more
Jess - The Tales Compendium
The Dead I Know begins with a lot of mystery surrounding our main character Aaron. He has shown up for his first day working at a funeral parlour looking worse for wear and with an antisocial attitude. We don't know a lot about him except that he's a bit of a loner, lives in a caravan park with Mam, who we assume to be his mother, and that she has some kind of mental illness. Because of Mam's apparent illness, Aaron has to play the role of the parent the majority of the time and since it is just...more
Steven R. McEvoy
Five years ago when I read a book I always had a pencil in my hand and made notes and grabbed quotes as I read. As I have been reading more and more electronically, now when I do read a physical book I find I just have lost that habit. But this book was so compelling that I stopped on a number of occasions to write down quotes to share with others. This is the first of Scot Gardner's books to be released in Canada. It was an amazing read. I literally read it in less than 24 hours and could not s...more
Carol  MacInnis
I won this book from a contest on Goodreads.

Aaron Rowe, fresh out of high school is now an apprentice working alongside John Barton, Funeral Director. To Aaron this is the perfect job for him. He lives with his 'Mam' in a van in a caravan park. Mam is a much older woman who is showing signs of, possibly, dementia. Aaron is a very shy, quiet person who also sleepwalks and is always frightened where he may find himself each morning and what had occured on these 'walks'. If only he could stop the s...more
It's been so long since I read something that made me want to make time to finish reading it. An utterly absorbing read, to say the least. Raw, emotional, disturbing- brilliant. The end was kind of jarring, and left me with questions, but otherwise, an absolute triumph. 4 1/2 stars.
3.5 stars

This is a required read for my year 10 English class.

It was not what I was expecting.

Aaron Rowe is training to be a funeral director. It's what he wants to do. He also walks in his sleep. He has nightmares.

We only given very small pieces of information to Aaron's past as the story goes on. Then we find out. Then it finishes.

I enjoyed this book. It was easy to get through and interesting.

Now, I know I'm going to have to write an essay about this in English and I don't know how. How...more
Originally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.

THE DEAD I KNOW by Scot Gardner was not what I was expecting, and that’s completely okay! A book more character driven than focused on action, THE DEAD I KNOW was hard to put down, despite being a bit of a quieter book.

Aaron has started work at a funeral home, apprenticing to the funeral director John Barton. The beginning of the story details the beginning of his job, the dead that Aaron goes with John Barton to pick up, and gli...more
I have been thinking about this book a few days now. I don't think I will be able to do it justice in any review that I write though. I thought it was an excellent piece of work and a great story.

This book tells the story of Aaron Rowe who has started a new job at a funeral home. His boss, John Barton, sees a lot potential in Aaron and befriends him. Aaron's home life is complicated. He lives in a caravan park with his Mam who suffers from dementia. Aaron sleepwalks at night, and has horrible n...more
I got this as an ARC giveaway from FirstReads, so thank you to them.

Okay, I was going to organize this review into things I liked and didn’t like, but I went to write the ‘didn’t like’ list and discovered that the things I didn’t like were also the things I loved, so bear with me while I try to articulate this.

This isn’t a very long book, just over 200 pages, but it didn’t feel very short. The plot is uncomplicated but not transparent, the characters are distinct but not simple, and the setting...more

There was the unknown, the dark, the cold and the emptiness to contend with out there, but those concepts are all relative. Cold compared to what? A dead hand? Dark compared to what? Unblinking eyes? At times the ocean seemed full beside my emptiness. At times it was the one knowable thing in my world.

That paragraph to me somehow sums up the entire book in a few short sentences, but what is great about this story is that there are many passages that do that. It's like reading a book with many mi...more
This first person narrative begins as Aaron Rowe has just been taken on as a trainee at a funeral home run by a good soul, John Bolt, who is willing to give him a go. We only know that Aaron is leaving school to take the job and that he has not been happy for a long time. He is quiet and wary but compliant. He seems to have no hopes. But immediately he finds a sense of purpose and calm in the job of being an undertaker's assistant. He is comfortable with and respectful of death, but fearful of e...more
Yvonne Boag
Aaron is starting out as a funeral directer in training. He has no problem with the bodies but can't deal with the grieving of the bereaved. He lives in a caravan park with his Mam and is constantly struggling with her forgetting things. And at night Aaron has terrible nightmares and wakes up in strange places with no memory of how he got there or what he has done. Life is hard but for Aaron, and things are going to get a whole lot worse.

I can see why this book won book of the year for older rea...more
Moonlight Gleam
What would you do if you had recurring, bone-chilling nightmares that you couldn’t explain? Or memories of your past that are hidden deep within your subconscious and that you couldn’t recover? Your sleepwalking is spiraling out of control. Then there’s your drug-addicted neighbor that threatens to harm you, and a grandmother that is beginning to lose all her senses. What would you do? These are the questions that Aaron Rowe must answer, however, he must do it all on his own. His past is a blur...more
Natalia Ceitidh
Read more of my reviews at Dazzling Reads

A Dark and Beautiful Story

This novel's intriguing premise gave me an idea of what I would find in its pages, yet I never though I'd find such unique story with so much emotional weight. The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner is definitely a poignant story that delivers a heartbreaking amount of sadness as well as a touching amount of hope and goodness.

The story starts with Aaron applying for a job as a funeral director. There, he meets his boss John, who plays...more
Christa  Seeley
This review originally posted at Hooked on Books

If there's one thing The Dead I Know did well, it's that it convinced me that I never want to be a sleepwalker. It would be terrifying to wake up every morning, unsure of where you are and how you got there. And who knows who would take advantage of you when you're like that *shivers*

Sleepwalking aside, however, there are a lot of reasons to read Scott Gardner's The Dead I Know. In a short period of time the reader watches Aaron Rowe's life complet...more
Giselle at BO-OK NERD Canada
I didn’t know what to expect from this one. I actually thought it was about a medium (someone who speaks to the dead), but I was wrong. The description is very simple yet it shows there’s something more than what is on the surface. Aaron being a funeral director in training is correct. What I didn’t expect was the truth that finally came out in the end.

Aaron’s nightmares are vivid and scary..Violent and morbid. I couldn’t understand what it was. Here is this teenage boy trying to live, trying to...more
Sarah (That Teenage Feeling)
The Dead I Know is suspenseful story that is grim, dark, slightly surreal, and yet bitingly real. We are first introduced to Aaron, the teenage protagonist, as he is applying for a job at a funeral parlour. Unshaven and uncommunicative Aaron is revealed in the opening paragraphs as being someone who keeps his thoughts, feelings and words to himself. Right from the beginning there is an air of mystery surrounding Aaron. In the opening chapter Mr. Barton, remarks on Aaron’s peculiar accent and ask...more
Shahira Lucas
I'm not exactly one for writing book reviews but I thought I'd give it a go with this book.

The Dead I Know is written from the point of view from Aaron, the main protagonist. He's incredibly mysterious, shy and you just never know what could happen with him next. Why? He sleepwalks.

He takes on an apprenticeship with a funeral director, John Barton and immediately, we find out that he is more than willing to help Aaron with everything he needs.

Aaron lives with Mam in a caravan park. Throughout th...more
Melissa (YA Book Shelf)
Aaron Rowe walks in his sleep. He has dreams that he can't explain and memories he can't recover. He isn't scared of death, in fact, his new job at a funeral parlor might be his salvation, but if he doesn't unravel the truth of his past soon, he might fall asleep and never wake up again.

Told with a mix of gothic horror, suspense and dark humor, Scot Gardner clearly has an understanding of the gothic genre and uses it in new and interesting ways than I've ever seen it employed before. Aaron and...more
Chandra Rooney
Read as ARC from Razorbill.

Great contemporary book. Well-paced and the mystery of Aaron's past is woven well with him working in a funeral home. I read this straight through, because it's well-written and it's the book that you keep reading because you want to know. I liked the characters, and I liked the different family dynamics.

And the funeral home operations aspect of this book is fascinating. The way that through working with the dead these characters are better able to participate in life...more
The Dead I Know is one of those books where it's nearly impossible to have an idea of what to expect without having read the book - it's mysterious, and not entirely clear where the story is going at first.

And while it isn't one that instantly made me fall in love, it did have its own charm that won me over in the end. A gritty yet hopeful story mixed with a fresh outlook on issues surrounding death make for a enjoyable read.

Reasons to Read:

1.A story with guts:

I loved that Scot Garnder wasn't a...more
Christina Boulard
It's so tough to write a review when you're not sure exactly HOW you felt about the book you're reviewing!

The Dead I Know is a simply written book, about a very difficult subject. When researching this book I discovered it was written for teens ages 14-18.
No way would I recommend, or even allow my OWN children to read this book at 14! I think 16, even 17 is the youngest.
There are many very graphic scenes and the content just isn't acceptable for younger teens.

Now, that THAT'S out of the way, let...more
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Scot Gardner wasn't born reading and writing; in fact, he left school in year eleven to undertake an apprenticeship in gardening with the local council. He has worked as a waiter, masseur, delivery truck driver, home dad, counselor, and musician.

These days he spends half the year writing and half the year on the road talking to people about his books and the craft of writing.
More about Scot Gardner...
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