Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.
But it could always be worse. . . .
More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.
Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe-dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece it together with the help of a volunteer police dog — all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn’t necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.
Here’s what I thought:
I requested this book on a whim, as I’m not normally a big mystery reader, but the description of the book caught my interest right away. It sounded fun (well, as fun as murder can sound) and I’m definitely into fun in my reading choices these days. Still, I didn’t know exactly what to expect.
From the start, I wasn’t sure if I could trust the main character, Jason. A guy who has committed murder and buried someone in his backyard seems to me like a prime candidate to be an unreliable narrator. Plus Jason comes across as really wishy-washy and a bit of a wimp.
Enter murderer number two–a man who just happened to have lived in the house before Jason and buried his own bodies (two!) is the yard as well. Coincidence? This brings the local police into the story, as they come to Jason’s house to investigate.
Upon discovering that one of the bodies is a man who has been missing for several years, the police notify his former fiancé, Leah. Leah is the first really likeable character in the book, and as she comes into the picture the book started to pick up for me. Leah is trying to make peace with what has happened, so she decides to go to Jason’s house in the middle of the night to see the place that was the final (up until now, anyway) resting place of her husband-to-be.
The rest of the action takes place during the course of this night, in which the paths of Jason, Leah, the other murderer, and the police are about to cross in a big way. Through a series of mishaps, misapprehensions, and missteps, the lives of these people (and a dog) will never be the same.
Overall, I found the story to be fast-paced and a good read. I got confused at the beginning between the different police officers, as there wasn’t a lot of descriptive detail to distinguish them (or maybe I skimmed over it). The book definitely gets better as it goes, and I particularly enjoyed the female characters of Leah and Maggie. My favorite character in the book, however, was Tessa–the dog of one of the police officers. There are portions of the book that are told from the point of view of the dog and these are so much fun.
Jason grew on me as the book progressed, although he still came off as a bit of a wimp up until the end. And the ending itself was a big disappointment. I don’t want to give anything away, but sufficed to say that there is a big fat lack of resolution.
All in all, I liked this book. The writing style was original and enjoyable, if a bit uneven, and there are some interesting characters who I wouldn’t mind meeting again in a sequel.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing me with a review copy of this book.
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