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Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words,“Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”
Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene’s death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk. Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.
Melissa Marr's first novel for adults is awesome. If I had stars or some other cutesy rating system, it would top out and I'd pencil in more. I love stories of small towns, that have big, scary, secrets. Ones that the majority of the town has no clue exists. Claysville and its story has a Dean Koontz-middle years feel to it. (Like my favorite Koontz Tick Tock). The little town certainly isn't the idyllic utopia that the locals believe it to be. There's really just no match today for Marr's ability to create a "world" that grabs you up so easily. I had such a hard time putting this book down and a week later, I'm still thinking about it. The story itself--a town with a sinister pact with the dead--is a captivating premise. I liked the Rebekkah and Byron, and all the other minor characters they met and dealt with. And while I've read other reviews that just didn't like Rebekkah and Byron and how easily they accepted their new roles in town, I did. I liked that Rebekkah was opposed to the idea, because it meant never leaving the town again. And I liked the Byron had (spoiler alert!) waited all those years for her, and now was her protector per the contract. He wasn't fussy or wimpy, he was merely waiting. I liked, too, that this story completely stands alone. I loved Wicked Lovely and it's series, but I was kind of tired of waiting for the next installment so I could have some closure. Graveminder is intended for adult readers, but will easily attract and be appropriate in that "A for YA" minded set. Disclosure of Material Connection: This title is part of the permanent collection for the library that I oversee. No publisher or representative contacted me and I was not required to read it or prepare a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”