Dancing with a Dead Horse, By Danielle DeVor
Published April 2014 by Eirelander Publishing
About the Book (from Goodreads):
Sometimes lullabies aren’t soothing; they’re deadly.
Sixteen-year-old, Jason Miller, wants three things: to become a professional Mixed
Martial Arts fighter, graduate from high school, and avoid his mother’s ballet classes.
When he finds the body of the most popular girl in school, he has a major freak-out session, and then calls 911. But if finding a body wasn’t bad enough, when a horse doll made of human skin and hair is found in his locker, the entire town accuses Jason of the murder.
As the body count rises, so does the hostility. Jason is left with a choice: To run and hide or to clear his name and find out why the killer is targeting him before it’s too late.
Jason Miller narrates this dark YA tale of a serial killer who preys on the junior class of his high school, and seems to want to frame Jason for the murders. And he thought school was bad before the killing spree started.
His mother is a former Russian ballet dancer who defected to marry an American mechanic. She teaches ballet, and forces Jason to take lessons, although he'd rather learn MMA (mixed martial arts). The mothers brother happens to be a Russian crime lord, so when the bodies start piling up in the morgue, the police implicate Jason with only the slightest of circumstantial evidence. The only good to come of this? His parents finally agree to let him start training in order to be able to defend himself, since the killer is obviously obsessed with him for some reason.
At times you just want to throttle the narrator yourself, as he's full of enough teen angst to sink a battleship, and also tends to sound on the whiny side. But the story moves along and keeps you wondering who will be next on the killer's gruesome craft project list... and why. There's a smidgen of romance tossed in but don't look for any HEA for Jason.
Not recommended for the faint of heart or those with over active imaginations because Ms. DeVor lets her characters get pretty bloody - remember, this is the same author who scared me with Sorrow's Point. If you like your YA dark and brooding, give Dancing With a Dead Horse a try.