Denis returns from the afterlife to help his twin brother solve the mystery of how he died.
Narrator Denis has been dead for 5 years. Because the sojourn in Port Haven, Denis’ post-death residence since he was 7, is about letting go of the threads of life, backward from dying, Denis doesn’t remember what happened to him. Denis’ twin, Matt, now 12, has found their father’s file on his brother’s disappearance from an amusement park and the subsequent discovery of the boy’s body at the Georgia monument in Gettysburg, and he wants answers: What happened to Denis? Denis—hoping to help his brother find peace—goes through “the razor,” a frightening and painful process that allows the dead to visit the living. Together, with some help from Matt’s best friend, Trey, they follow the few clues available to them, all the while navigating their parents’ grief and distress. News of a car submerged in a quarry and a strange stalker add to the mystery, while red herrings, past violence and tragedies, and Denis’ fragmented recollections intensify the challenge. The characters seem to be white. A great-uncle was gay, and Trey is someone whose gender Denis never figures out. Abbott keeps the tension high and the mystery dark and unsettling, leavening it with several flashes of humor and intriguing imaginative speculation about the dead.
Page-turning. (Mystery/ghost story. 10-13)