Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Three Graves Full - A Crime Drama

In this debut novel, Jamie Mason introduces a compelling group of characters then puts them through sometimes comic, sometimes tragic and sometimes suspenseful paces.

I suppose the central conceit requires a little buy-in from the reader, but it's not terribly hard with Mason's smooth narrative touch.

Jason Getty has killed a man and buried him in his yard. 

After a period of fretting about that circumstance, he hires a crew for lawn maintenance lest an overgrown homestead draw undue attention.

In the midst of their cleanup, they stumble on an unmarked grave.  No wait, two unmarked graves. Neither is occupied by the guy Getty buried.

It seems a pair of bodies were planted on the property before he moved in and sunk another.

Just accept it.

From there, the story unfolds in a nicely paced and quirky manner as Getty encounters a pair of decent and conscientious local cops who solve the murders in short order but find Jason acts a little suspicious.

CSI determines another death might have transpired in Jason's house, which makes them curious  and means Jason's going to need to move his former friend Harris to a new location.

Jason's the most compelling character in the cast, and the extended flashback in which we learn the circumstances of the killing he committed is engrossing. It builds empathy for his milquetoast spirit. He's a widower after all, and good intentions  entangled him with a biker and burglary ring leader, who doesn't like to be called Harris, who drove Jason first to despair then dire deeds.

When Jason starts to unearth his victim for transport prior to the police bringing in cadavar dogs, things really get complicated as the suspect for the other killings, the fiance of one of the victims and others converge on Getty's house.

Jason's faced with trying to protect himself, help one of the good cops and somehow makeing an ally of a woman he's instinctively brained with a shovel.

I think it's safe to say you haven't seen this all before. Mason really delivers a fresh voice and a fresh perspective to the crime novel.

Three Graves Full is a fast and exciting excursion, and you'll probably be surprised at how things turn out.

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