Friday, April 17, 2009

Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary)

Jeff Strand, author of the “creature feature” classic Mandibles, has staked out territory as the top of the pack of authors blending horror with humor. Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) is the first of four books (so far) featuring his character Andrew Mayhem, a hapless private investigator who gets embroiled in macabre doings somewhat beyond him. It is also the second of three straight novels I’ve read sold to the horror market with a PI protagonist. Not that I’m complaining.

Andrew Mayhem is trying to make it as an unlicensed private detective, while taking care of his children ( his wife supports the family) and dealing with mostly cheating spouse cases. The latest of these gets him his opening beating. He needs a break, and seems to get one when a beautiful woman offers him and a friend $20,000 to recover a key. She even tells them where it is. The only small catch is that it is buried with him, but she assures them the grave is shallow, and located in a convenient part of the park. What could go wrong?

For starters, hubby isn’t quite as dead as Andrew and his pal might have wished, and there is someone else involved, who begins playing a deadly game with Andrew. The case leads to a company called Ghoulish Delights, which makes mini-horror movies starring their well-paying clients.

Despite the clever setup, it took me a little while to get into the book. Part of it, I think, was because the Mayhem character is fairly incompetent, something the character freely admits. But once I got in the proper mood, the book moves fairly quickly. A very entertaining read, and I’ll be looking for the other books in the series.


Craig Clarke said...

I read all three of these (reviews here) and really enjoyed them. They actually get better (or at least more intense) as they go along.

There have been rumors of a fourth, but with Strand finally making the leap to mass-market with Pressure, who knows?

KentAllard said...

I thought I read where Strand has written another that is forthcoming, set between the first and second. But I could be wrong, as I usually am.