After two successful non-fiction books, author and funeral director Todd Harra has released his first foray into the world of fiction with his new book, Grave Matters. Known for his witty compilations about life as a funeral director, Harra's new mystery revolves around Tripp Clipper who happens to be, yep, you guessed it, a funeral director.
In Grave Matters, a school teacher arrives on his embalming table after a horrendous car accident and Tripp knows that something isn't right. When the local coroner rejects his su spicions, Tripp takes it upon himself to investigate. But as Tripp chases clues, the body counts begins to rise. Things get personal when his own girlfriend disappears, sending Tripp on a race to find her before she ends up being the next victim.
When I first picked up a copy of Grave Matters, I must admit that I was concerned by the girth of the book. At 472 pages, it's quite a lengthy book and felt like I was holding War and Peace. But, I was surprisingly delighted to find that the fast-paced story pushed any thoughts of the book's physical size out of my mind. Harra keeps the reader's attention solidly fixed on the story, and even does a nice job of weaving the details of an occupation that most readers would know nothing about into an enjoyable tale of suspense.
Harra doesn't hold back once the story gets moving, and the mystery is pleasingly complex and misleading. Even when the reader hits the proverbial "A-ha" moment, there is still another twist waiting just around the corner. Grave Matters acts as an excellent introduction to a character about whom I hope Harra plans to write more. By the end of the book, there was only one outstanding question. Considering how much chewing tobacco Tripp uses during the course of the book, I'm left wondering why he doesn't have gum or lip cancer.
Grave Matters is a great fiction debut for Harra, and worth the read.
To read my thoughts on Todd Harra's first book, Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt, click here.