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Grave Undertaking [Paperback]

By Mark De Castrique, Omar Rayyan, Rich Koslowski (Contributor), Harvey Mercadoocasio (Contributor) & Dave Manak (Contributor)
Our Price $ 12.71  
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Item Number 419990  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   266
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 30, 2006
Publisher   Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN  1590582705  
EAN  9781590582701  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
After moving to the Appalachian mountains to manage his ailing father's funeral home, ex-cop Barry Clayton unearths the skeleton of a murdered man, whose wallet contains a photograph of Barry's girlfriend, while moving a grave.

Publishers Description
Barry Clayton has left the Charlotte police force to manage his ailing father's funeral home in the peace and quiet of the Appalachian mountains. But Buryin' Barry is an undertaker with a problem--he keeps finding unwanted business.

Moving a grave on a snowy mountainside should be routine. No funeral, no procession, no grieving widow to console. Routine until Barry unearths an unexpected intruder, a skeleton lying atop the original occupant. A bullet hole in the skull piques his ex-cop curiosity; the photograph of his girlfriend Susan Miller in the murdered man's wallet makes the case very personal. Suddenly, Barry's life is turned upside down, as Susan becomes the prime suspect.

Joining forces with his pal Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins, Barry sets out to find the real killer. But a terrible secret had been buried in that mountain grave and one murder is only the down payment someone is willing to pay to keep it hidden. Barry is torn between discovering the solution to the crime and uncovering a part of Susan's past that could destroy their relationship.

When the killer strikes again, Barry learns that even more is at stake. In a duel of deceit and misdirection, one thing becomes crystal clear. Barry's grave undertaking could very well lead to his own funeral.

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More About Mark De Castrique, Omar Rayyan, Rich Koslowski, Harvey Mercadoocasio & Dave Manak

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Mark de Castrique grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina where his mysteries are set. Mark is a veteran of the television and film production industry, and he serves as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte."Dangerous Undertaking" is the first in the series, followed by "Grave Undertaking, Foolish Undertaking, "and "Final Undertaking." "

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1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General   [14854  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General   [9292  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
If you love mysteries, then you will love this one  Apr 23, 2005
I love mysteries, but find it increasingly hard to find ones that aren't rewarmed or overbaked versions of what I have already read. Mr. de Castrique has a series going that will make you wish the third and fourth ones were already out. This one stands alone, but you should read both. Having an understaker as your "detective" really works well (of course it helps that he was a policeman before). And his use of a North Carolina mountain town is a welcomed relief from big urban centers, small English towns and any place in California and Florida.
A very good series.  Apr 9, 2005
This is a very good series. Barry is a fully dimensional character with strong family ties and good friends. The sense of place is wonderfully done and dialogue is very true. He provides an interesting look into the human side of the funeral business, which I very much enjoyed. And, it's still a tight mystery with very good suspense. If you've not discovered this series, I definitely recommend giving it a try.
The series Continues in "Grave Undertaking"  Feb 8, 2005
Author Mark de Castrique brings readers back to the small mountain town of Gainesboro, North Carolina in this enjoyable sequel to "Dangerous Undertaking." As his father's Alzheimer's worsens and a buyer is making noises about wanting the family funeral home, Clayton and Clayton, Barry Clayton has another problem.

Finding a loose skeleton on top of a closed casket, which was buried a number of years ago is bad enough. The fact that the skeleton has a small bullet hole above the eyes is indicative of the nature of death. What is unexplainable, as Barry watches at graveside, is why the dead man's wallet contains a picture of the woman he loves, Dr. Susan Miller? Why is a gun registered to her father buried with the skeleton?

As a circumstantial case against Dr. Susan Miller and her father, Walt, begins to build, Barry Clayton begins to investigate with the help of his friend, Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins. Faced with a hot shot District Attorney with serious political ambitions using the case for his own purposes instead of justice, the situation is stacked against them. Then there is the fact that Susan isn't telling all she knows, their relationship is in jeopardy on many levels, Barry's father wanders away from home lost in his own mind, and the buyer wants a fast decision. Not to mention that a killer still walks among them and is beginning to clean up the loose ends the only way possible-by killing again. Barry should have stayed on the police force up north where it was safer.

This is another enjoyable read by the author who combines interesting and realistic characters, a good mystery, and elements of real life that touch us all. With so many familiar with Alzheimer's, either directly or indirectly, it is nice to see a storyline concerning the subject handled so well in the first two novels of what promises to be a good series. The author gracefully and with tact, details the hard choices so many families have to deal with today in handling the situation and never raises the subject to preaching nor lowers it to condescension or amusement.

This sequel, which could be read as a stand alone, showcases the same deft touch in regards to the depictions of funerals and the grief of the survivors. These characters though they may only appear for brief snippets, a few pages at most, are just as real as the main characters of Sheriff Wadkins, Barry, Uncle Wayne and others. All are family and the result is a read with characters and scenes that flow at a steady pace towards a satisfying ending that culminates another good read.

Book Facts:

Grave Undertaking
By Mark de Castrique
Poisoned Pen Press
266 Pages
$24.95 US
ISBN # 1-59058-116-4

This review previously appeared online at The Mystery Morgue.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2005
Really nice mystery with great characters  Oct 21, 2004
It's just an ordinary day for funeral director Barry Clayton--moving a casket from one location to another to meet the needs of the dead man's family. But when he comes across a skeleton that shouldn't be there--a skeleton with a bullet hole in the middle of its forehead, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. No funeral director put that body in the grave--and no suicide could cover himself so well. When Barry's girlfriend's picture is found in the skeleton's wallet, Susan, and even Barry himself, become suspects.

The sheriff seems willing enough to push forward with the obvious case and Susan's lies and her confrontation with the dead man only days before he vanished, give her motive, opportunity and means. Barry needs to dust off his ex-police skills to get to the bottom of the mystery. It doesn't help, though, that Susan is lying to him as well as to the police. Could it be that she has more to hide than Barry is willing to accept?

When he starts pulling on the case, Barry finds hints that something is rotten in the criminal justice system--that maybe the Sheriff has a good reason to point fingers anywhere but within his own department. Suspecting is one thing, though. Staying alive long enough to find out the truth becomes a major challenge.

Author Mark de Castrique creates an engaging story with enough red herrings to fill the Atlantic and a charming romance betwen Barry and Susan. I especially enjoyed the way de Castrique deepened Barry's character through his evolving relationship with his Alzheimer-suffering father and with the community he somewhat reluctantly serves as funeral director. de Castrique's strong writing kept me glued to the pages. Good stuff.
exciting regional mystery  Jun 30, 2004
When his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer?s disease, Charlotte police officer Barry Clayton leaves the force and returns to Gainesboro, a North Carolina mountain town. He helps his parents and his uncle run the family business, the Clayton and Clayton Funeral Home. He is there when Pearly Johnson?s coffin is exhumed so it could be moved to the family plot. State Senator Richards paid a lot of money to be buried in Pearly?s plot, which is next to Caleb Turner, a Union sympathizer.

Before they reach Pearly?s coffin, they discover the skeleton of another man on top of the coffin, a bullet in his head. A wallet is found with four hundred dollars and a picture of Barry?s girlfriend Susan Miller. They identify the body of Samuel Calhoun, a private detective who was buried with the gun of Susan?s father. Both Susan and her father become suspects in the death of this sleazy blackmailer. When Barry makes inquiries, he is shot. Still he thinks the killer is someone in the justice department and Barry and his friends better find out who it is before someone else dies.

Mark de Castrique has written an exciting regional mystery that gives readers feeling of what it is like living in a small southern mountain town. The protagonist is a hero in the truest sense of the word as he gives up his job to take over the family business that means everything to his mother and uncle. He?s patient with his father, tries to protect his girlfriend, and find a murderer. GRAVE UNDERTAKING shows the importance of the funeral home in the community as neighbor helps neighbor in time of need.

Harriet Klausner


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