From Publishers Weekly
Ably following in the footsteps of Margaret Maron, TV and film producer de Castrique sets his first novel among the folk who populate Gainesboro, N.C., and the surrounding hill country. The book opens with a powerful bang: mentally unbalanced Dallas Willard appears at the burial service for his grandmother, Martha Willard, shoots two relatives to death, then turns his shotgun on undertaker (and former Charlotte policeman) Barry Clayton, whom he wings in the shoulder. Dallas's motive? To preserve land worth $3 million that other members of his family planned to sell right away. Why shoot the undertaker, though? Because Dallas wants Barry to go to heaven and tell Martha nobody is going to take her property! Dallas escapes in his pickup, but when his body turns up at the bottom of a quarry pond after a second shooting incident, Barry realizes he himself could become the unknown killer's next victim. The author sensitively depicts the hill people, including Barry's childish and fearful father, owner of the mortuary, who's losing his battle with Alzheimer's. Fortunately, Barry has gorgeous Dr. Susan Miller to love him and sew him up when he's injured. Adept at both the grizzly and the graceful, de Castrique has produced a marvelous mystery you won't want to put down.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Morticians are hot, both in print and on screen. First there was Tim Cockey's offbeat crime series starring Baltimore mortician Hitchcock Sewell, and then there was the hit HBO series Six Feet Under
. Now we have another family-run funeral parlor with its resident amateur sleuth. With his father in the grip of Alzheimer's, Charlotte, N.C., cop Barry Clayton has quit his job and returned to his hometown, a small mountain village near Asheville, to help his mother and his Uncle Wayne run the funeral business. Local police chief Tommy Lee Wadkins, recognizing that Barry regrets leaving the police, finds ways to involve the reluctant mortician in his investigations. Their latest case, searching for fugitive Dallas Willard, touches Barry in a very personal way: Dallas shot and wounded him while murdering two others during the funeral of Grandmother Willard. As they seek a motive for the shooting spree, Barry and Tommy Lee uncover a mountain feud turned lethal. A well-written debut featuring an engaging buddy team and a picturesque setting. Jenny McLarinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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