Saturday, September 27, 2014
RIP IX: Constable & Toop
What will definitely rank as one of my favorite reads of this RIP season (I'm calling it early) is Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones. I didn't know that I was looking for a book with ghost protagonists (and one plucky living kid) until I picked up this one and got lost in the rules and procedures of the world of the dead.
Sam Toop has always lived above the funeral parlor with his father and he has always been able to see ghosts. Usually they just ask for help with their unfinished business but he's about to be drawn into a much more serious business: that of saving the ghostly world -- with the help of ghostly boys, dogs and bureaucrats.
Though it's marketed to middle grade readers, I thought the story was well-written enough to please older readers too. It takes a bit of effort at the beginning to get used to switching between multiple narratives (it changes each chapter between three or four story lines) but once you learn patience, it pays off with a story where you find yourself truly caring about the fates of ghosts. Because, though Sam is the main living character of the story, I'm not sure that he's any more important than ghostly paper-pusher Lapsewood, young and transparent rogue Tanner, or the comical and clearly insane Marquis. I can't wait to give this one a reread during a future RIP season.