Book Review: Dead Heads – Ross Young

Dead Heads ebook cover
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Rating: 1 out of 3.

A highly entertaining spin on the world of the dead. Ross Young’s debut novel combines crime and comedy into a smooth, supernatural whodunnit. Dead Heads also brings out lots of interesting ideas about what counts as alive. And what rules would likely exist once you’ve kicked the bucket. In this urban fantasy, Gloomwood is where most of the dead end up, co-existing as best as they can in tense harmony because they don’t really have much of an option. Here are some specifics to look forward to.

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Unique Premise

Augustan Blunt was a deadbeat cop in life and is roped into a major case as soon as he arrives in Gloomwood: someone stole the Grim Reaper’s head. While this fittingly glum man struggles to get his bearings in a city basically populated by corpses, as well as dead gods and hopes, complications twist the situation further as more headnappings occur. The humour in Dead Heads is witty, dry and often surprising, its diverse characters more or less caricatures, adding to the deadpan charm of the narrative.

Profound Afterlife Ideas

As already mentioned, personified gods, hopes and ideas abandoned by humanity also stroll around Gloomwood. We see them thriving or struggling alongside “normal” dead people, often making them far more interesting characters than the protagonist himself. There are also norms, laws, institutions and hierarchies defining this post-life universe, not to mention the tricky matter of children. A lot of thought has clearly gone into Dead Heads and this is palpable throughout.

Smooth Crime Read

The crisp writing style and banter make all this information easier to absorb. The plot and action involving these curious headnappings are a nice counterweight to the Gloomwood lore. With a good foundation laid out in Dead Heads, the adventures of Detective Blunt and his team should get even more exciting as the series progresses. It has already introduced itself as a fun and intelligent read, so the future is bright indeed.


If you’re a fan of quirky urban fantasy, Dead Heads is an experience not to be overlooked. It has character, wisdom and laugh-out-loud dark humor that will fill a few days, if not hours of your life, very nicely. Keep an eye out for the Gloomwood books as they’re likely to redefine the powers and boundaries of crime fiction.

Get your copy: Amazon, AbeBooks

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