Three Graves Full3 star



A Too-Valiant Mystery Debut

By Jamie Mason
Gallery Books, $24.99, 307 pages

Almost two years ago, Jason Getty murdered a man and buried the corpse at the back of his property. When he hires out some badly needed yard work, the crew digs up a corpse – but not the corpse Jason buried. Worse, the police discover yet another corpse, again not the one he buried. Frantic, Jason decides to dig up and move his corpse … and things start to go wrong. A grieving fiancé, a vindictive murderer and a police detective who won’t accept simple answers drive a tale of blunders, violence and, remarkably, something like justice.

Mason’s first mystery is a valiant effort – perhaps a bit too valiant. The plot is believably worked out, but Mason tends to reveal character through backstory rather than action, and she relies too much on strained metaphors (“the cannonade of her heartbeat”) and sentences like this one: “The silence was wet in her ears, and her eyes scratched barbed swirls in their sockets.” Plus, the dog seemed a bit much.

Next time – hopefully there will be one – Mason should rely less on fancy language and more on her characters’ actions to drive the story.

Reviewed by Daniel Hobbs

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