I had the pleasure of chatting with Josh Berk early last month and did a quick profile of him as one of the first posts on this blog. I spent the entire half-hour of the chat laughing my ass off, so needless to say I had high expectations for his book The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin. I am happy to say the book has lived up to and even exceeded them.
I learned a surprising amount about the deaf culture from Berk. Making his main character deaf really gives a unique perspective to the book. The main plot is a murder mystery that Will and his new friend Devon Smiley endeavor to solve. Since Will is deaf he tends to notice things that others don’t and can read conversations from a distance. This proves to be extremely useful in solving the murder and also provides for some hilarious and uncomfortable situations.
The only downside of the book are the first two chapters. It starts a little slow and Berk’s style takes a little getting used to. Once the story gets going though, you won’t be able to put it down. The deaf and overweight Will Halpin’s commentary on everyday occurrences will have you falling out of your chair. The story focuses on Will’s first year in a regular school (as opposed to a school for the deaf) and his attempt to assimilate into the mainstream culture.
Berk’s novel is a refreshing mix of the comedy of Christopher Moore with the mystery of a Hardy Boy’s book and Berk’s quirky sense of humor (see his release day video). I sincerely hope a sequel featuring Will Halpin, possibly my new favorite character in young adult, is in the works. I highly recommend this book to everyone, do yourself a favor and buy this book!
Jeff’s Debut Novel Awards*
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A twenty-two-year-old University student, Jeff is the founder and coeditor of The Debut Authors Blog. He is an aspiring author and a self-avowed bibliophile. Also, he is not above shameless self-promotion and talking in the third-person.