Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three Graves Full

Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason
Gallery Books, 2/12/2013
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781451685039 
For fans of the Coen brothers’ films or for those who just love their thrillers with a dash of sharp humor—an engaging and offbeat story about a man driven to murder, who then buries the body in his backyard only to discover that there are two other shallow graves on his property.
“There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”
With this memorable first line, we meet Jason Getty, a regular guy in every mild sense of the word. But extraordinary circumstances push this ordinary man to do something he can’t undo...and now he must live with the undeniable reality of his actions. And just as Jason does finally learn to live with it, a landscaper discovers a body on his property—only it’s not the body Jason buried.
As Jason’s fragile peace begins to unravel, his life is hitched to the fortunes of several strangers: Leah, an abandoned woman looking for answers to her heartbreak; Tim, a small-town detective just doing his job; and Boyd, a fringe-dweller whose past is about to catch up to him—all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming.
With the tense pacing of a thriller and the language and beauty of a fine literary novel, Three Graves Full heralds the arrival of a stunning new voice in fiction.

My Thoughts:
Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason is a murder mystery that can also be comedic. Jason Getty is a man under a constant strain. He has a man buried in his backyard, by his own hand, however, unknown to Jason, there are two other bodies buried in his yard. When one of the other bodies is discovered by a landscaper Jason hires, it soon leads to the discovery of the second body. Although culpability for the untimely burial of these bodies points to the previous owner, Jason is, quite naturally, obsessed with the thought that the police will soon find the third body, the one he is responsible for burying in the yard more recently. Adding to Jason's already overwhelming fear of the police investigation is a smart dog and a couple of unwanted trespassers.
Three Graves Full juxtaposes murder with comedy. It has been compared to works by the Coen brothers, and I can see the comparison to Fargo, but it brought to mind, for me anyway, Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry, another dead body mystery/dark comedy. The humor here is not slapstick; it is based on the absurdity of the situation and the consequences of choices the characters make. The story whipped along at a good pace, but did slow and trip a few places along the way. Additionally, Jason is not a readily likeable character. While I can accept unlikable main characters, Jason's personality is best described as bland. That could be problematic for some readers.
Since I was provided an uncorrected proof for review purposes I have provided a link to an excerpt below, but there were several times when I sorely wanted to saved a sentence, description, or paragraph for quotes to share with you. Not only is Mason witty, she has some very descriptive language which provides wonderful insights into portraying her characters and their emotions, motives, thoughts, and backgrounds. There were places where descriptions were a tad bit overwritten, which could be indicative of any first novel. It is clear that Mason is a talented writer, so, since this is her debut novel, look for future novels.
highly recommended - and keep an eye on future novels by Jamie Mason
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Gallery Books and Netgalley for review purposes.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

This sounds fun; I might have to look for it at the library.