Author: Melissa Marr
Page count: 324pp
Release date: 7th Jul 2011
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
This is Melissa Marr’s first adult novel following a string of teen genre stuff. With a seal of approval from Charlaine Harris of True Blood fame, you know what you’re getting here.
When Rebekkah Barrow receives a call telling her that her Gran Maylene has been murdered, she returns to the small town of Claysville; a town that has always drawn her for inexplicable reasons. Unfortunately for her, she is also drawn to Byron, the local Undertaker with whom she has had on/off dalliances in the past. Things are complicated with Byron as he was originally the beau of Ella, her sister, who committed suicide some years ago. So going home following Maylene’s death brings with it a whole host of problems, particularly as it turns out that for centuries the Barrow women have been ‘Grave Minders’ and Rebekkah has now inherited the job.
A pact was made in the 16th century between the town council at Claysville and a certain figure known as Death. Without the help of the Grave Minder working with the local Undertaker, the dead have a habit of rising in the town, and from now only, only Rebekkah can stop them. The job comes with its perks of course. Apart from never having to pay bills, Rebekkah can take trips to the land of the dead for a little sight seeing, and the world which Marr has created is definitely worth exploring. The local bar in the land of the dead is particularly entertaining.
There are no real surprises her if I am honest, and while the novel itself is enjoyable, it is rather a breezy affair with the culprit of the piece being very obvious. However, the characters are believable, there is a fair amount of humour and all together it is a nice adult debut. I think Marr has more to offer and I would like her to examine her land of the dead in more detail. All in all, this novel is a decent enough diversion.