In the Graveyard Antemortem by Stephen Stromp


Front_Cover_Image_In_the_Graveyard_AntemortemWe are introduced to Lisa, who is about to turn 18. She’s heading off to school with her best friend, Tina. It’s an idyllic scene as her mechanic father jokes and waves them off. When Lisa gets back from school the house and garage are eerily quiet. It’s then that she discovers her father’s corpse, chest cut open and bloodless.

Throughout the book there is considerable examination of Lisa’s family and their relationships. Her father has been a single parent since Lisa was young. Her brother, Richard, is pretty much estranged due to anger and substance abuse issues. The focus on Lisa’s relationship with her brother and best friend, Tina, provides good character development and depth. The death of her father is not lightly passed over to race on to the next plot point. The death has consequences and Lisa lives through the aftermath. One of the outcomes of his death is that Lisa is sent to live with her Uncle Clayton in Grand Hallow.

Lisa’s arrival at Grand Hallow opens up a new mystery, as her uncle runs and lives in the state’s largest funeral home. The sense of place and setting is wonderful. It’s a maze-like structure with strange employees. The story is full of mystery throughout. There is the mystery of the murder, the history between her uncle and father, the two girls who appear to Lisa at night, and the suspicious goings on at the funeral home.

I would recommend this most to teen readers. You’re getting a supernatural adventure tale, heavy on atmosphere and intrigue, with a strong teen female protagonist.


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Book Cover Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Lisa Jacobs is determined to solve her father’s gruesome murder. But before she can investigate in her own small town, she is forced to spend the summer with her Uncle Clayton, the owner of Grand Hallow—a massive funeral and mortuary operation the size of a small city. Her move to Grand Hallow only deepens the mystery as she begins to suspect the strange and chilling occurrences there are linked to her father’s death. With the help of her acid-tongued best friend and deadbeat brother, Lisa must unravel the secrets of Grand Hallow—before it’s too late.



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