Book Jacket


rank 698
word count 20279
date submitted 16.07.2010
date updated 20.11.2010
genres: Children's, Young Adult, Popular Cu...
classification: universal

Dead Bugs

Alex Bright

A summer in Key West with an aunt called "The Bug Lady" and a drag queen uncle "Anita Margarita" changes 14yr old Kyle's life forever.


Stealing a car on the last day of Middle School sends Kyle Armstrong to stay with his Aunt Carol in Key West for the summer. She’s a forensic entomologist who studies dead bodies and bugs, two of his favorite things – NOT!

Kyle’s knack for science comes in handy when it’s obvious something weird is going on in the Florida Keys. Well, weirder than usual. Dolphins in the bay are acting strangely, a body with a bullet hole between the eyes washes up in Key West, and the marina gets blown up by a real-life underwater treasure hunter, all while the local Voodoo priestess predicts more bad things to come for Kyle.

Finding more than enough to keep him busy, Kyle’s summer blog is full of fun tales. From solving the mercury poisoning mystery, re-finishing Jack’s sailboat, SCUBA diving for treasure, and falling hard for the Dolphin Research Center intern – it’s more excitement than he ever imagined.

rate the book

to rate this book please Register or Login



adventure, crime scene, forensics, insects, teen mystery, treasure hunting

on 27 watchlists



To leave comments on this or any book please Register or Login

subscribe to comments for this book
Seringapatam wrote 359 days ago

Alex, Superb. I enjoyed this so much and certainly wasnt expecting this. Intelligent writing, brilliant narrative. never mind the young uns, I loved this and I am over fifty. You are going to attract a wide audience. So well done for this book and high score from me.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

artifactory wrote 562 days ago

Easy to get into this story! Great sense of humor and wonderful characters - and I haven't even met Anita Margarita yet. I was intrigued by the title and the pitch is great! A good warm-up for this fascinating story!

Darugh wrote 1251 days ago

I have only had time to read three chapters tonight, but I am backing your book based on that small sampling. This is an intriguing story that's sure to have great appeal for young audiences. It is well written and doesn't drag - the story moves along at a fair pace. The dialogue rings true. I wish you the very best with this.

Patricia West Hays
The Witness Tree

If you have any time at all, I would appreciate it if you could take a brief look at my book.

RonParker wrote 1251 days ago

Hi Alex,

A great, easy to read story. Unfortunately, I've only had time to read the first two chapters but that's all I need to know a good story when I see them.

The one thing I would like to see is some indication of Kyle's age. American readers can propbably work it out from the references to the school system, but we British readers have a compltely different school system so some other pointer to his age would be useful for us.


StaKC wrote 1336 days ago

Backed a few days ago, finally getting to the comments. Brilliant, even though my computer won't pull up the last two chapters. Kyle's a great character and I think he'll go over will with the younger crowd, and your story is interesting enough to pull in the older. Love your descriptions and you have great dialogue. Good luck.

Diane60 wrote 1341 days ago

Have read all 7 Chapters. Fabulous read. It uses just enough of popular culture references to hook the younguns and then WHAM you tell yourself a really good story.
Very well written and evenly drawn out characters. Love Rudy great ideas all so far read as 3-D and believable.
Your style is easy to read and warm and inviting lulling the reader deeper and deeper into your narrative.
Hope this gets picked up and published



lionel25 wrote 1347 days ago

Alex, I found your first chapter well-written. This is something my little niece would enjoy.

Happy to back your work.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Margaret Anthony wrote 1348 days ago

You have made a strong start with this story. Effortless to read, I was easily carried along immediately interested in Kyle and all things bug.
I must hasten to add I loathe cockroaches but your fine writing style overcame that plus the short chapters and natural dialogue.
I'm far from your target readers but I'd happily sit down and immerse myself in this book.
Backed with pleasure. Margaret.

nsllee wrote 1353 days ago

Hi Alex

I really like this. It's a great pitch and your writing is excellent. I normally dislike stories about snotty disaffected kids acting out, but you really managed to get me on-side with Kyle and empathising with him. I look forward to seeing how his summer with the Bug Lady works out and hopefully all his problems with his mum and dad too. Backed.


Katy Christie wrote 1362 days ago

Everything about this first chapter is excellent, from the creepy cockroach to the introduction of the bug lady - and finally a secret about to be unveiled. You have great writing skills; the pace and dialogue are pitched just right. I cannot fault this and am very pleased to back it.
Katy Christie
No Man No Cry

Rakhi wrote 1363 days ago

The pitch is great, refreshing and new. Lots of excitement and the topics you cover will excite even the most skeptic young mind. Your write well and your characterisation of Kyle is superb.
Rakhi (Sir William...)

tomkepler wrote 1363 days ago

I'm short on time today but am backing just on reading the beginning. You obviously have a command of language. I love the premise--as a school teacher, I believe the young men would enjoy Key West, bugs, science, voodoo, and crime mystery.

By the way, on the first page, shouldn't mother and dad be lower case?
My mother is coming to town.
Here comes Mother.

The former shows relationship (my mother, my friend) the latter is used as a name (Bob, Mom). The use of "my" or "his" is the giveaway.

(I have two novels uploaded.)
The Stone Dragon
Love Ya Like a Sister

carlashmore wrote 1363 days ago

A fantastic pitch is followed by some great, accessible prose. You never underestimate your young reader and I like that. In short, this book symbolises why I came to Authonomy in the first place. I wanted to see how other aspiring children's writers dealt with their material. You do it so well. There is depth to your characterisation and I am delighted to back this.
The Time Hunters

Strayer wrote 1364 days ago

This works. I enjoyed reading all that you uploaded. Kyle is a keeper.

Bill Carrigan wrote 1366 days ago

Hi Alex, It's Bill again, back to comment briefly on "Dead Bugs," which is off to a fine start. The characters come across as living, breathing, three-dimensional; the writing is clear and forceful; and you handled the emotion well in describing the change in Kyle's life. I like the way Chapter 1, just the right length, ends with a cliffhanger that drives us forward. After skipping ahead to see if you were keeping up the good work, I decided to back now and read more later. --Best of luck, Bill

hellsbelles wrote 1366 days ago

It was nice to see you cut the missing Dad some slack in chapter one...enough of the backstory to understand, but not dwell. The writing has a nice flow and is easy to read. Backed.


Balepy wrote 1366 days ago

Alex - I have backed Dead Bugs having dipped into it , effortless writing and subject matter will definitely see you going to the top. Best wishes Balepy (Freckles the Fawn)

Larry789 wrote 1367 days ago

Great start and after living in Key West for a few years back in the 60s and after having visited again in 2009, the descriptions of the town, the heat of the day, like walking into an oven was so surreal. Loved the characters and the story line, can't wait for more.

senyah nala wrote 1367 days ago

This is very well written. Dialogue and descriptions absolutely spot on. I enjoyed what I read so far.
Your book should do well and deserves to be backed. It's on my shelf for reading more of later.

D. L. Stroupe wrote 1367 days ago

This story starts off quickly and it's a lot of fun to read. Poor Kyle!! I don't mind bugs in general but I think anyone would get the crawlies from those hissing cockroaches! I remember the huge Jerusalem crickets that my sister and I were so impressed with as kids, and the beautiful beetles we would see in the sand dunes that put up such a loud hissing display that we couldn't help but be intimidated.

This is bound to be popular with kids and I hope you find a publisher for it. I wish the whole book was here. =)

GK Stritch wrote 1367 days ago

Dear Alex Bright,

Great title and pitches, Dead Bugs, hmmmmm. (Did you know the Beat writer William S. Burroughs worked as an exterminator? I believe he enjoyed the work.)

Yuck, hate bugs, too, especially ESPECIALLY the kind you mention in your first, very first sentence. I have to mention same in my manuscript, but I couldn't bear to name them. I call them the "rent free bugs," as I write about sanitizing my New York City apartment at the end of Chapter 8. Double, double yuck.

(What's with these obnoxious television commercials showing them? It makes me CRAZY. Hate it)

Backed your great prose and backing away.

Best wishes.

GK Stritch
CBGB Was My High School

sbs_mjc1 wrote 1368 days ago

First of all: great pitch! If I this book had been around when I was ~10, I would have been all over it.
Second: love the characterization. Within the first few paragraphs, we know so much about Kyle, and really sympathize with him. He's very real.

DMHeadley wrote 1368 days ago

Your pitch is brill and makes you want to read more.
Backed with pleasure.
My Friends and Me / Sammy and the Wise Willow

Miles A wrote 1369 days ago

Very entertaining and well written. Backed.

Miles A. Robinson
Song for My Father/ Loud Lucy Ludlow

soonerbred wrote 1369 days ago

Alex, enjoyed the first chapter. It reads very well, and really brings us inside the head of Kyle and is building a wonderful character. Nicely done.

Thanks for backing the smoke that thunders.

Cheers, Nate.

DMR wrote 1369 days ago

Having recently visited Key West, I was looking forward to sampling this story - I know its aimed at young adults - but I really enjoyed what I've read so far.. Kyle is a very well drawn character, so typical of a young teen, and Crazy Aunt Carol certainly adds a layer of intrigue - its good stuff and I can see this appealing to a wide range of readers - Backed!
Good Blood

marywood18 wrote 1369 days ago

As i am not very well at the moment i am backing everything my friend, Johnny Vee does, without reading, because I so trust his judgement. I hope sometime you can have a look at my book, An Unbreakable bond. I am soon to be out of action and need some help whilst in hospital to keep things going. Love Mary

delhui wrote 1369 days ago

Dear Alex --

We share Kyle's creeping disgust with bugs, but you make the subject so interesting that we're reconsidering our position. Dead Bugs is a terrific YA story, sure to attract both young and old readers. As MC, Kyle is easy to relate to, from his penchant for getting himself into trouble to the curiosity that he tries to hide. We love the contrast between his aunt Carol's attitude -- a sort of live and let live philosophy that doesn't pressure Kyle -- in comparison to Kyle's mom, who is clearly at her wit's end with her troubled son. You edify without ever preaching, and through the 7 chapters you posted here, we found nothing worth leaving a crit about. Backed with extreme pleasure. -- Delhui, The Long Black Veil

JohnnyVee wrote 1369 days ago

This is a hoot. And I’ll back it with pleasure. One thing - you’re first chapter is a tad slow. I realise you have to place reader in character and situation, but for me, you could cut chapter one down to half the size. The crazy stuff in chapter two…5” bugs, eurgh…is what I want to read about, and I suspect that goes for most readers. So get them there quicker and you might have something. Only one opinion of course. Hope it helps.

J.S.Watts wrote 1369 days ago

Nicely written. The prose flows and is lucid. The lead character is laddish and complicated with just the right touch of poignancy, but not so much that it becomes mawkish, plus it's got excitement and icky bugs - what's not to like.


Dorothea wrote 1370 days ago

Hello Alex, I enjoyed reading your book. I think you've captured the awkwardness of being Kyle's age really well. This is especially true when you write about how having to give up his red hat from his Dad made him feel more alone. This struck me as being really poignant.

Best of luck,

Tracy Buchanan
The Candyfloss Room

klouholmes wrote 1370 days ago

Hi Alex, Smoothly written and involving for the age group. The info about Kyle’s charge and the bad luck of the car sinking in the marsh was well-depicted with the mother’s reaction. And Aunt Carol is well-done, her roaches really a punishment for Kyle to be around. A protagonist that holds the attention! Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

name falied moderation wrote 1370 days ago

Dear Alex
Great book cover for sure...What a good book. I started reading this some time ago and just wanted to let you know, now finished. I have already commented and backed your book a while ago, but cannot see the backing anywhere. So i am taking the time to back it again because I believe your book is WORTH IT


Ann Mynard wrote 1370 days ago

Alex, This is just the sort of story teenagers seem to go for. Poor Kyle, farmed out to his eccentric aunt who has a passion for bugs. There's enough of the right sort of gory incidents to keep youngsters turning the pages. This is an unsual concept for a story, very well set out. I wish you all the best with it.
Ann Mynard (Windshadow)

wespollet wrote 1370 days ago

Hi Alex, This novel really has me hooked, from the trouble teenager whose parents seperated to Kyle being sent to live with an aunt (who loves bugs) and uncle in Florida. He meets Jack and it look like he is going to have a great summer! I like the book and I BAck it! Harold Alvin(ICON)Wesley

Ferdi wrote 1370 days ago


A Bed of Thorns

KW wrote 1371 days ago

You have a lot going on in this novel. It should be very popular with young people; hell, it's exciting for me (decades past the target audience) as well. The tone seems about right for a younger audience in terms of the slang used in the dialogue: "that man goes ape over his car." Anyway, poor Kyle is in a recently broken home. His mom just got a new job "something I can't pass up." So, he his pushed off to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in Florida: "even his Dad didn't want him around." To the Bug Lady he is dragged "and what she did was kind of neat as long as it was all in theory and he didn't have to touch any of the bugs." Then, of course, there is Uncle Rudy, which you keep the reader from knowing about until later. Nice touch. I'll be back to read more when I get a little time. Backed for now.

T. L. Bartush wrote 1371 days ago

Alex, I admit to only a dip - chapters 1, 2 and 6. Enjoyed it though and found the premise and execution good. I make one suggestion that I hope is helpful - when you used "strumming" for the vein in chapter one the image may have been stronger if you'd used something like "drumming". Throbbing is still a good one as well. Evoking imagery effectively draws the reader into your web. All the best with it. I will back.

T. L. Bartush
Bleak House Bleak Shed (a satire on lawyers - if you can find a place for a spin on your shelf I'd appreciate it. Heavens, you might even enjoy a read).

Robin Pearson wrote 1371 days ago

Fantastic stuff! Dead Bugs manages to retain all the elements and feel of the classic children's adventures whilst being utterly contemporary and accessible for today's kids and young adults.

Backed with pleasure

The Way Through the Woods

scargirl wrote 1371 days ago

great premise. well done.

Kace wrote 1371 days ago

Great first chapter ... sets up the story nicely. Good luck.

K A Smith wrote 1371 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this. It seems perfectly suited to your target market. I particularly like the fact that you get the squirm factor from real insects instead of inventing something, so often reality works better. (Says me, who's written a fantasy...) This rollicks along nicely. Thank you.

John Connor wrote 1371 days ago

There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy in the writing, which comes across well and would probably sit quite happily with young readers. The only downside I can see at the moment is keeping the level up long enough to complete the project.

Read and enjoyed. Backed accordingly

LeClerc wrote 1371 days ago


I will reaad and comment shortly.

Danny Murphy

Lynne Ellison wrote 1371 days ago

A great book for children

Tumper wrote 1371 days ago

This is brilliant! How can I read more? It's sitting there on my bookshelf.

Pia wrote 1371 days ago

Alex -

Dead Bugs - great title and very entertaining read. Young ones will love the adventure. Well it gripped me.

Backed, Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Kristen Stone wrote 1371 days ago

What an excellent book to keep the kids occupied. If the book lives up to the pitch I can hardly believe so much adventure can be packed into one book. Backed.
Kristen Stone
Kianda Mala - The Monkey Man
The Penhaligan File

greeneyes1660 wrote 1372 days ago

Alex this is brilliant...I think whether you love bugs or hate bugs you will love this story...Great descriptives the pace is perfect as well as the short chapters for your genre.

I hate bugs love forensic's ...You immediately connect us emotionally with the opening circumstances of both the incident and treatment from his fellow classmates and the divorce of kyle's parents...

Love his aunt the dialogue between them felt natural and magical... You gave us some intrigue as to the family secret about his uncle which added another layer...colorful, interesting, fun, yet there is an understated but strong message that I think will help children with their confidence and self image, This deserves to be published...Only had time for 3 chapters but will come back wheen I have had time to finish what you've posted..Backed happily Patricia aka Columbia layers of the Heart

Crowel wrote 1372 days ago

Good writing and a good premise. I've read the first two chaptures and I plan to read more and give you some more feedback.

Good work!


P.S. You might be interested in Apostle. (hint)