Loyalist To A Fault reviewed at the National Post

Loyalist-Cover-SmThe National Post – and more accurately, the whip-smart children’s book reviewer, Anna Fitzpatrick – reviewed the third Dead Kid Detetctive Agency book, Loyalist To A Fault, on October 13, but it only appeared online on the National Post site last week. It’s a really nice review, which is high praise because I really feel like Fitzpatrick knows what she’s talking about when it comes to writing for teens.

The full review follows, but you can also see it on the site here, where it’s paired with a review for Jairo Buitrango’s picture book, Two White Rabbits.

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In 2012, artist Evan Munday published his first novel for children, The Dead Kid Detective Agency. In it, 13-year-old October Schwartz accidentally awakens the ghosts of five children buried at a local cemetery.  Each dead kid came from a different era in time, dating back to the 18th century, and none of them could remember how they died. October agrees to help them find out the circumstances of their death in exchange for them helping her track down her estranged mother. It was an ambitious project for a debut novelist, but with every subsequent book released in the series Munday proves himself to be an increasingly sharper and tighter storyteller. The third and latest title, Loyalist to a Fault (ECW Press, 304 pp, $12, ages 8—14), is the strongest and tightest one yet. Like the preceding books, it combines a Canadian history lesson (this time going back to Canada’s earliest British settlers) with a gruesome murder mystery (the main suspect is a ghost pirate, dozens of pop culture references (Munday includes a glossary explaining these references at the end), and a cheeky sense of humour.

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Talking Dead Kids and Dance Movies at My Summer Lair

The other week, I had the pleasure of meeting with my old friend Sammy Younan, a friend from my days when I tabled frequently at Toronto comic conventions. He’s got an interview radio show named My Summer Lair on Girth Radio, during which we discussed comic books, my Dead Kid Detective Agency book series, and – maybe most importantly – dance movies. Here’s how Sammy put it:

My Summer Lair Chapter #19: What is your favourite dance movie?

Actually before we get into a Dance Dance Revolution let’s start at the beginning. I first met the talented and articulate Evan Munday via his comic: The Amazing Challengers of Unknown Mystery. Who are they you may ask? Why they are “Waterloo’s Greatest Superhero Team!” Amazing!

To invest in talent by buying their product is to recognize potential. Evan’s next project did not disapoint: Quarter-Life Crisis is tale of hardship and friendship set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto. What? Yo…

Then in 2011 Evan issued The Dead Kid Detective Agency. A spirited YA novel about a goth loner who friends…the ghosts of five dead teenagers? Yup…and all kinds of audacious Scooby-Doo adventures begin. The third book Loyalist to a Fault is out now and is attractively armed with all kinds of pirate mayhem.

The Dead Kid Detective Agency books (there will be 7 in total) are witty, sarcastic, crammed with Canadian history, ghosts, mysteries, a cemetery, a plethora of pop culture references…rollicking tales wrapped in modern pulp…galvanized Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew for youths (and big boys like me!). Highly recommended!

Oh … and as for the dance movies? Yes … we dive deep into Evan’s ongoing dance movie obsession (his word!). Cracks me up how well he owns that.

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Listen to the interview below, or check out My Summer Lair at Girth Radio!

My Summer Lair featuring Evan Munday by My Summer Lair on Mixcloud


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The Word On The Street (at Harbourfront)


This Sunday, September 27, marks the return of one of Toronto’s best literary events, The Word On The Street. The festival is Canada’s largest free book and magazine festival, featuring hundreds of author readings, discussions, and activities, and a marketplace that boasts the best selection of Canadian books and magazines anywhere. This year, for the first time, the outdoor free festival will be taking place at Toronto’s Harbourfront (moving it from its previous location, Queen’s Park).

I’ll be participating in the festival in a couple key ways. I’m hosting the This Is Not the Shakespeare Stage for the first half of the day, then I’ll be leading an illustration workshop at the Children’s Activity Stage later in the afternoon. Details can be found below and at The Word On The Street website.

This Is Not the Shakespeare Stage

11:45 AM – A Shot in the Dark – reading and discussion with Emil Sher (Young Man with Camera) and Chantel Guertin (Leading Lines: A Pippa Greene Novel)

The impact of technology on teenagers is a persistent subject of debate. Smartphones are often singled out as the objects of greatest influence, but what about cameras? Emil Sher and Chantel Guertin empower their teen characters by aiming their lenses at the social issues around them.

12:30 PM – Supernatural Sovereignty: Humans Defending the Earth – reading and discussion with Megan Crewe (The Clouded Sky), Leah Bobet (An Inheritance of Ashes), and Natalie Ghent (Dark Company)

Nobody likes to be pushed around, but the assertions of dominance in these fantasy novels go beyond bully threats or pressure from parents. Join Megan Crewe, Leah Bobet, and Natale Ghent in conversation as they discuss the use of aliens, gods, monsters, and demons as larger-than-life villains in their novels.

1:30 PM – Politics of a Parallel World – reading and discussion with Eve Silver (Crash), Kate Blair (Transferral), and Erin Bow (The Scorpion Rules)

They say one person can change the world, but when you’re up against governments that have normalized hostage taking, a diseased second-class citizenry, and a virtual reality game with fatal real-world consequences, it isn’t easy. Hear Erin Bow, Kate Blair, and Eve Silver speak about writing sinister systems and heroines equal to the task of taking them down.

Children’s Activity Tent

3:15 PM – Loyalist To A Fault – reading and illustration workshop with Evan Munday (that’s me!)

If you’re interested in drawing cartoons, you’re going to have to draw faces. Learn to draw your own cast of character faces with The Dead Kid Detective Agency series author and illustrator Evan Munday. He loves drawing faces, and during his short workshop, he’ll give young illustrators the tips and techniques they need to draw dynamic faces and facial expressions: both realistic and cartoony. Bring your pencils and paper, because you’ll be doing a lot of drawing at this workshop!

Activity suitability: Ages 7+

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Sept. 22 – Evan visits Ottawa’s ChiSeries


This Tuesday, September 22, I’ll be in Ottawa to read at the city’s ChiSeries, ChiZine’s monthly reading series bringing you the best voices in horror, fantasy and science fiction in several different Canadian cities. I’ll be reading alongside authors Yves Meynard (Chrysanthe) and Linda Poitevin (the Grigori Legacy series) at Maxwell’s (340 Elgin Street). So please join us for a night of (let’s be optimistic) incredible readings and fantastic times. Full details on the event and my esteemed co-readers follows:

ChiSeries Ottawa
featuring Yves Meynard, Evan Munday, and Linda Poitevin
Tuesday, September 22
Maxwell’s Bistro and Nightclub
340 Elgin St
7 p.m.

Yves Meynard was born in 1964, in the city of Québec, lived most of his life in Montreal and has recently moved to Ottawa. He has been active in Québec science fiction circles since 1986, serving as literary editor for the magazine Solaris from 1994 to 2001. He has published over thirty short stories in French and over a dozen in English. He is a multiple award winner, with several Boréal and Aurora Awards, along with the Grand Prix de la Science-Fiction et du Fantastique Québécois, Québec’s highest award in the field. He has published sixteen books in French and three in English, including The Book of Knights, a Mythopoeic Award finalist, and the massive novel Chrysanthe.
Linda Poitevin is a writer possessed of both a light side and a dark one. On the dark side, she’s the author of the Grigori Legacy, an urban fantasy series featuring a hard-as-nails cop caught up in the war between Heaven and Hell. In her lighter moments, she writes the sweet and funny Ever After contemporary romance series. And when she’s not plotting the world’s downfall or next great love story, she’s a wife, mom, friend, coffee snob, gardener, walker of a Giant Dog, minion to the Itty Bitty Kitty, and avid food preserver (you know, just in case that whole Zombie Apocalypse thing really happens).

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