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Cockey is a kindred spirit to Janet Evanovich (Three to Get Deadly, Four to Score), an author with the rare gift of making riotously funny prose seem effortless, and to Elmore Leonard (Be Cool, Get Shorty), whose dialogue is casually and precisely evocative of the way "real people" speak. Heady company indeed for this new author, but The Hearse You Came in On deserves a special place in the screwball mystery pantheon: if you thought Evanovich was daring for creating a heroine who is a lingerie-salesperson-turned-bounty-hunter, you haven't met Hitchcock Sewell, the handsome undertaker who moonlights (reluctantly) as a sleuth.
Hitchcock is placidly enjoying life in Baltimore, "solemnly chaperoning the dead into their graves and pretty much otherwise minding my own business," when Carolyn James appears at the mortuary to inquire how much her own burial would cost. The next day, Carolyn reappears, but she isn't saying much now: suicide by asphyxiation has a way of eliminating small talk. The only problem is that Carolyn the Client is not the same woman as Carolyn the Cost-Conscious Consumer. When Hitch decides to pursue the shifting-identity issue, he meets Kate Zabriskie, a cop who wanted to protect Carolyn from a vicious boyfriend by faking her death; unfortunately, it seems Carolyn decided to play for real. Intent on proving that Carolyn's suicide was murder, Kate quickly embroils Hitch in a tangle of political blackmail and police corruption.
Bad enough that Hitch is caught in a murder investigation--but factor in his unwilling participation in a terrible amateur theater production, in which his costar is his "extremely gorgeous semi-nymphomaniac quasi-Buddhist and eternally charming ex-wife," and you have one cranky undertaker. Luckily for Hitch and for Cockey's readers, that crankiness is never enough to dim his razor-sharp powers of description and keen appreciation for his and others' quirks. Here he describes his former father-in-law, owner of the Screaming Oyster Saloon: "Frank is a tall crooked stick with an Adam's apple that rivals his nose, and a basset hound face that promises the end of life as we know it any minute now. Every mug he lands on the bar lands there with the heavy thud of finality. If you're in a good mood and you don't want to be, Frank's your man. He doesn't even have to speak, he'll simply open up that bleak vortex for you and down you go."
The Hearse You Came in On is a powerful debut; Cockey's next novel won't come a moment too soon for the readers who keep pausing to laugh out loud. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Fun reading! Hitch, the main character has a great sense of humor. The delight of a small town effect in the big city of Baltimore. There are twists and turns in the plot. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Eileen K. Grossman
This is the first time I have ever read a mystery where the narrator was a funeral director. Since I am a minister involved in my own share of funerals, I recognized both the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by William Stacy Johnson
This was an enjoyable read. Because it took place in Baltimore, somewhat local to me, it was even more interesting.Published 16 months ago by Peggy Richardson
Hitchcock sewell is in undertaker and the murder and mayhem he gets into is hilarious. the dialogue in this series i think is clever and offers some fun elements to this murder... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Reality tourist
I should say that I know Tim, and that he is as witty and likeable in real life as his writing is. This is the first in his series of comedy thrillers focusing on a Baltimore... Read morePublished on December 11, 2011 by T. Burrows
This was our first story by Cockey, and we'll admit that the title hooked us in! Turns out this is the first in a series of five novels featuring Hitchcock Sewell, undertaker and... Read morePublished on September 7, 2011 by Jerry Bull
Good, entertaining book! Tim Cockey is very clever, and reading about the quirks of Baltimore city makes it even more fun.Published on January 17, 2011 by Liz
Having just finished reading this rather lengthy debut novel, my immediate reaction is one of ambivalence. On the positive side is Tim Cockey's appealing style of writing. Read morePublished on September 18, 2010 by Michael G.
When I read the premise of an undertaker that solves mysteries, I was already hooked.
This book was a fresh concept, and kept me laughing and turning the pages rapidly. Read more