Synopsis from the author’s website:
Three sips to mind the dead …
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn’t a funeral that Maylene didn’t attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”
Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.
Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.
Let me start out by saying that I loved this book. The amount of time for me to get this entry ready took longer than the amount of time I spent reading. I am not a “fast reader” as I tend to reread paragraphs a lot. Mostly because I read at night, closer to bedtime, when the eyelids are about to drop.
I started reading it around this week, and finished it in less than a week. I also typically pause in the last 100 pages when I like the book but this was an exception. I had to know the ending. Right away.
The story had a dark and mysterious vibe to it, reminding me of Dean Koontz and Stephen King. The ending gives you closure but it doesn’t sacrifice a “happy ending”, just for the sake of it. The narration is very imaginative, but concise. The characters are very definitive, which I absolutely love. Habits, mannerisms, and phrasing are identifiable.
Claysville is a small town with a huge secret. A secret that involves the dead, and a pact that cannot be broken. Maylene, the town’s Graveminder, ends up dead after a visit from a young girl. The town’s Undertaker, is devastated. And, in the next few days, more death and chaos occur. The what-why-and-how slowly reels you in as the story progresses. (No spoilers!)
I have this bad habit of “guessing” the plot and storyline, which for some, usually ruins it. (Same, when I watch shows.) What keeps me engaged, are the characters and plot unpredictability. So, yes, if I can guess what’s going to happen next, that means bye-bye. In the case of the Graveminder, I was so happy to have been proven wrong that the young girl is/was not a zombie. I wanted to learn more about the mystery that surrounds the pact—and I really did not have any idea until the very as to what might have caused the x,y, and z events.
Highly recommended. It was really hard to put this book down and I am looking forward to Ms. Marr’s future adult fiction books.
"Every monster needs a companion." -DW