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Dangerous Undertaking (Buryin' Barry Series) Paperback – February 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: Buryin' Barry Series
  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; US ed edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590582691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590582695
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

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 McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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More About the Author

A native of western North Carolina, Mark sets most of his mysteries in Asheville and the surrounding Appalachian mountains. In addition to his Sam Blackman and Barry Clayton series, Mark has written the political thriller, The 13th TARGET, and two Young Adult mysteries: a thriller, A CONSPIRACY OF GENES, set in a children's hospital and an historical "locked-room" murder mystery, DEATH ON A SOUTHERN BREEZE, set on a train traveling from Charlotte to Charleston in the summer of 1860. Mark also has written the play "A DYING BUSINESS." two short stories, TWO OF A KIND, available for the Kindle, and the sci-fi thriller DOUBLE CROSS OF TIME set in 2030 when today's breaking scientific discoveries yield surprising and dangerous consequences.
For a sneak preview or for a tour of Sam Blackman's Asheville or a preview of his latest Sam Blackman mystery, A MURDER IN PASSING, or the D.C. political thriller, The 13th TARGET, check out the video section of his author page.

Customer Reviews

 A little slow at times but worth the time .
patricia m foy
All the characters are fully-dimensional, with actions that ring true.
Theresa L. Krause
Twists and turns in the plot kept my interest.
Darlene M Mortimer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Theresa L. Krause on July 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was hesitant to try this book, because so often books set in the southern states turn the characters in caricatures and stereotypes. This is certainly not the case in Dangerous Undertaking. All the characters are fully-dimensional, with actions that ring true. Barry, the main character, has left Charlotte to return home to the North Carolina hills to help his family. He gets involved - personally! - in several murders and must solve them to keep himself and others safe. The friendship between him and the sheriff, Tommy Lee, is well-drawn, and Barry's love interest is likable and very much her own woman. This is one of the best books I've read this year, and I certainly hope the author plans to write more in this series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. E Maloney on January 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Barry Clayton is an ex. cop turned undertaker since his father is no longer able to run the business. At a graveside service for an elderly woman, her grandson strides in like Clint Eastwood complete with duster, rips out a shotgun and murder's his entire

family. I read this book with great anticipation since the I found the description of the story intriquing and I wasn't disappointed. The author writes convincingly about the

Applachian mountains and it's people, alzheimer's and the effects on a family while involving us in a compelling mystery. Along the way there are some twists and turns and a surprise at the end that I did not anticipate. I fully recommend this mystery for it's great character's and the ability of the author to transport us into the Applachian mountains and community.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Larry VINE VOICE on February 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes the greatest challenge a mystery author faces is to justify why an amateur detective will feel the need to investigate a crime that is better left in the hands of the professionals. Mark de Castrique cleverly tackles this issue by having his main protagonist, Barry Clayton, an undertaker, being shot while presiding over a funeral. The killer, Dallas Willard, who was attending his grandmother's funeral appeared to go crazy killing his brother and sister just before attempting to kill Barry. The problem is that Dallas is still on the loose and Barry fears for his life. Working with his friend, Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins, Barry must investigate the deep dark secrets of this family to discover what exactly set Dallas off on the murderous rampage.
I place a premium on originality. Sometimes novels can be so different that they are unforgettable. Unfortunately, DANGEROUS UNDERTAKING is routine and quite pedestrian. It is skillfully written and conveys a great sense of locale. However, characters, though realistic enough, are quite forgettable as is the plot. While reading this book I could never shrug off the feeling that I read this before.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Walter J Thomson on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous book for mystery lovers and southern fiction readers alike. The intrigue of the "whodunit" storyline keeps the pages moving quickly, but there is substance behind the intricate plot. The mystery of why people keep dying in the small mountain town of Gainsboro, NC had me hooked immediately, especially when the detective is a cop turned undertaker. Yet some of the best moments in this book have little to do with the mystery itself...such as de Castrique's sensitive portrait of a family dealing with Alzheimer's. I hope de Castrique will return to these likeable characters and the perfectly captured mountain setting in a sequel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First Line: Crab Apple Valley Baptist Church sat high on a grassy knoll overseeing the sinners scattered along the valley floor.

Former Charlotte policeman Barry Clayton has a new job that he doesn't want. With his father caught in the talons of Alzheimer's, Barry quits the Charlotte police force and returns to the small mountain community of Gainesboro, North Carolina, to take over the role of town undertaker.

Almost immediately, his job turns deadly. At the graveside service for an elderly woman, her grief-stricken grandson kills his family and turns the gun on Barry. "Take a message to my grandmother," Dallas Willard shouts. "Tell her they tried to take the land. Tell her I love her." The shotgun blast hits Barry in the shoulder. His wounds being seen to by the woman he loves, Barry begins to search for Dallas and the reason for Dallas's actions.

Fortunately Barry's irreverent humor and independence have earned him the friendship of the county sheriff, and he is a former policeman after all, so Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins is happy to have the help. When a second shooting occurs and Dallas Willard's body is found in a quarry pond, Barry realizes he could be the next victim on the killer's list.

Already a fan of the author through his Sam Blackman series, I looked forward to this first book in his "Buryin' Barry" series. I wasn't disappointed. There is a very strong sense of both the place and its people in Dangerous Undertaking which adds richness to the story. How a family deals with Alzheimer's is also honestly and sensitively dealt with.

Although I also come from a small town, I wasn't aware of how a funeral home can be part of the fabric of a place-- probably because the funeral director in my hometown was more a figure of fun.
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