Joey Crouch has a good life in Chicago. He is a straight A student, plays the trumpet, and lives with his mom. Then his mom dies in a tragic accident. Joey is uprooted and sent to rural Iowa to live with his dad. His dad's house is littered with newspapers and books along with a rotting stench to it that will not go away. The kids at Joey's new school ask him what his dad does because he is supposedly a garbageman, but nobody sees him pick up any trash around the town. His biology teacher uses him as a human guinea pig in class every day. He ignores them to focus on getting good grades. A bump in this road is his dad who buries his homework, his trumpet, or anything else that Joey might need for school. Joey must dig to get his possessions back. Even though he does not realize it at the time his dad is training him to become a digger. Diggers dig up graves to take the valuables that might lie with the dead. The first time he goes out with his dad he helps out more than he thought. Joey is able to get the grieving daughter away long enough so his dad can dig up the father's grave. This act earns him some respect with the other Diggers. As he accompanies his dad on more and more digs, he attends school less and less. Even when Joey does go to class the kids still tease him about his smell and what his dad does for a job. At one point Joey just snaps and decides to take his revenge on his biology teacher and two of the popular kids who harassed him all the time. After he gets his revenge Joey runs away with another digger named Boggs to California.
When I first saw the title I thought it was going to be a zombie book, but after reading the inside cover I found out it was not. This book takes you into the world of grave robbing, a place where many of us probably would not go. As I was reading Rotters, it seemed very similar to The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey. I believe that readers who liked The Monstrumologist will enjoy Rotters, and vice versa.