Sunday, May 26, 2013

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

  • Title: Graveminder
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Paranormal
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (January 17, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062115162
  • ASIN: B00A1AA5AE
  • Author's Website

The city of Claysville harbors a dark secret. Almost three hundred years ago a bargain was struck and the devil was in the details. Rules were made and traditions set in place. In exchange for silence, no one within the town's borders gets sick and the town itself is protected from the world beyond. Those born in Claysville must be buried in Claysville and can only leave to further their education or to find a spouse. Only two people know the whole truth at any given time--the Graveminder and the Undertaker.

When Rebekkah's grandmother, Maylene, is murdered she comes back to Claysville. Little does she know that in doing so she has sealed her fate. She is to be the town's next Graveminder, and all the eccentricities her grandmother had will take on a whole new meaning because the dead in Claysville don't always stay dead...

     "What do the dead need?"
     "Prayers, tea, and a little bit of whiskey." then seventeen-year-old Rebekkah answered, "They need nourishment."
     "Memories, Love, Letting go," Maylene added.
     "Three sips for safety. No more. No less." Maylene held out the silver flask for  the third time. "Three on your lips at the burial. Three at the soil for three months."

And a promise she made years ago to her grandmother will now come back to haunt her.

     She opened the flask, took a sip, and then tilted it over the grave once. Tears streamed over her cheeks as she said, "She's been well loved."

     She took a second sip and then lifted the flask in a toast to the sky. "From my lips to your ears, you old bastard, " Then she tilted it over a grave a second time.
     "Sleep well, Maylene. Stay where I put you, you hear?"


Melissa Marr has a hauntingly beautiful and dark writing style. If you're looking for something warm and cuddly, her books are not for you. Her characters are flawed, her stories are a touch wicked, and usually captures your attention from the very start. The Graveminder is no exception. You'll feel you've entered another world and have taken a walk on the dark side.

Rebekkah 'Bek' Barrow is not a Claysville native. Her mother, however, married a man, Jimmy, who was and they lived 3 years in the town of her stepfather's birth. Bek came to love her step-grandmother, Maylene. The two got along better than she did with her mother, and she kept in touch with her even after her mother and stepfather divorced. Rebekkah didn't know the town had a dark secret, but she's about to.

Byron Montgomery is the son of the current Undertaker. He's set to inherit his father's business sooner than he thinks. He's been in love with Bek for years, but their relationship is complicated by the fact her stepsister committed suicide years ago shortly after she found out the two had kissed. Ella and Byron had been dating for years, and what spurred Ella to kill herself may never be totally known, but as Byron and Rebekkah soon discover, the Graveminder is drawn to the dead. And Ella was supposed to be the next Graveminder. As the two take on their new roles as Graveminder and Undertaker, they are introduced to a new world--a world of the dead which is alluring, seductive, tempting, intriguing and dangerous.

The land of the dead is ruled by a mysterious man who goes by the name Charlie and is called Mr. D by some. He is the man with all the answers, but dare Byron and Bek trust him? Neither was told of this 'other' world until the night when the role of undertaker was passed on to Byron by his father. Now the two will have to find whatever abomination is stalking the once safe town of Claysville before more residents of the small town are killed.

Overall, I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. The writing was wonderful, but at the end I felt I had more questions than answers. It was implied a character, Alicia, had a secret agenda, but what that might be was never disclosed. I felt Ms. Marr meant to expand the story, but left things half told. Another book explaining things would have been nice. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets  a  Blush - at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred.

Sidenote: As I was writing this review, I noticed on Ms. Marr's website that there is a short story, "Guns for the Dead",  in the anthology Naked City, that is associated with this book. If I find questions are answered in that novella, then this review will be revised to reflect that and the rating will change.

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