Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Daniel Kraus  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Young Adult;

Born: 1975 Midland, Michigan

-- Facebook --
-- Twitter --
-- Website --
-- Daniel Kraus on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Kraus lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Daniel Kraus is an editor, film director and award-winning writer. He wrote ''Trollhunters'' with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and has directed six feature films, including ''Sheriff'' and ''Musician. '' An editor at the American Library Association, Krause is also a regular contributor to different publications including ''Cosmopolitan'', ''Playboy'', ''Maxim'', and ''''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Monster Variations
ISBN: 0385737335

Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 2009

This fast-paced read will keep readers on the edge of their seats!

Someone is killing boys in a small town. The murder weapon is a truck, and the only protection is a curfew enacted to keep kids off the streets. But it’s summer—and that alone is worth the risk of staying out late for James, Willie, and Reggie.

Willie, who lost his arm in the first hit-and-run attack, finds it hard to keep up with his two best friends as they leave childhood behind. All of them are changing, hounded by their parents, hunted by the killer, and haunted by the “monster,” a dead thing that guards the dangerous gateway between youth and manhood. But that’s not all: shadowing the boys everywhere is Mel Herman, the mysterious and brilliant bully whose dark secrets may hold the key to their survival. As the summer burns away, these forces collide, and it will take compassion, brains, and guts for the boys to overcome their demons—and not become monsters themselves.

In this chilling and poignant debut novel, Daniel Kraus deftly explores the choices boys grapple with and the revelations that occur as they become men.

ISBN: 0385738579

Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 2011

Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.

Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.

ISBN: 0385743092

Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 2013

Equal parts haunting and horrifying, this literary horror novel gives readers insight into the mind of a controlling homicidal man and the son who must stop him.

"Marvin Burke is one of the great monsters of literature, a figure of immense, credible terror and savagery."--Cory Doctorow, author of Little Children and coeditor of Boing Boing

Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too?
Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister eke out a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father’s physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.

ISBN: 1423125983

Disney-Hyperion. 2015

The book that inspired the Netflix original series Trollhunters, from Dreamworks Animation.

"You are food. Those muscles you flex to walk, lift, and talk? They're patties of meat topped with chewy tendon. That skin you've paid so much attention to in mirrors? It's delicious to the right tongues, a casserole of succulent tissue. And those bones that give you the strength to make your way in the world? They rattle between teeth as the marrow is sucked down slobbering throats. These facts are unpleasant but useful. There are things out there, you see, that don't cower in holes to be captured by us and cooked over our fires. These things have their own ways of trapping their kills, their own fires, their own appetites."

Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino-one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named "Tubby" who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.

From the minds of Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus comes a new illustrated novel about the fears that move in unseen places.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire
ISBN: 148141139X

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2015

From the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling The Shape of Water comes the “utterly riveting” (Entertainment Weekly) tale of a murdered teen who is resurrected to walk the earth for more than a century.

May 7, 1896.

Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down by the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected.

His second life will be nothing like his first.

Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?

“Fearlessly weaving gore, love, philosophy, and social justice issues into one sharp whole” (BCCB), The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire is the epic saga of what it means to be human in a world so often lacking in humanity.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume Two: Empire Decayed
ISBN: 148141142X

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2016

From the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling The Shape of Water comes the second and final book in the “utterly riveting” (Entertainment Weekly) epic tale about a murdered teen who is resurrected to walk the earth for more than a century.

Zebulon Finch has faced more violence, lust, and heartbreak than any other seventeen-year-old in history. But nothing can prepare him for what is coming next.

Half a century has passed since Zebulon Finch was gunned down and then inexplicably resurrected to experience a second life. Picking up his tale where he left off, Zebulon heads to Nazi Germany on a top-secret mission. From there he escapes to the shiny new world of the suburbs—a tidy neighborhood hiding dark secrets. He will exchange the pains of this world for what he believes will be peace among the stars. He will march for social change all the way to Woodstock, go raving mad in the desert, and finally exit from humanity the only way he knows how. We first met Zebulon sealed in a tomb beneath the World Trade Center—might he yet crawl from the rubble to discover a different America?

Enthralling and gut-wrenching, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume Two: Empire Decayed is the conclusion to the epic saga of one young man’s journey down the long road to redemption.


The Monster Variations'',

  • 100 Best Stuff for Teens, New York Public Library, 2009
  • Rotters

  • Top 10 Horror Fiction, Booklist
  • Blue Ribbon List Winner, BCCB
  • Editors Choice List, Booklist
  • Amazing Audiobooks List, American Library Association
  • Earphones Award Winner, AudioFile
  • Bram Stoker Award Finalist, 2011
  • Top Fiction Book, Rue Morgue Magazine, 2011
  • Odyssey Award, 2012
  • Parent's Choice Gold Award for Fiction, 2012
  • Top 10 Youth Books, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2012
  • ILLINOIS READS Selection, 2015
  • Scowler

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, YALSA
  • Tayshas Reading List
  • A Best Book of the Year, Stacked
  • A Best Book of the Year, Liz Burns
  • Editor's Choice, Booklist
  • Best YA/Kids Books, Buzzfeed, 2013
  • Junior Library Guild Selection, 2013
  • 20 Best YA Books, Chicago Public Library, 2013
  • Top 10 Horror Novels, Bloody Disgusting, 2013
  • Top 10 Audiobooks, YALSA, 2014
  • Odyssey Award, 2014
  • The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch

  • Top Ten Books, Entertainment Weekly, 2015

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)