★★★★☆ four out of five stars
Jason Getty is a lonely widower who has a body buried in his back yard. Although he spends every waking hour worrying about the body he buried in the back yard, the real drama begins when two bodies are discovered by gardeners in Jason’s front yard for which he is not responsible. From there, Jason’s life is entwined with Tim, the detective sent to investigate the two bodies; Leah, the widow of one of the bodies and Boyd, the man who lived in the house before Jason. Can Jason keep his cool while under the pressure or will he break under the strain of his guilt?
For a debut novel, Jamie Mason has done a great job. The story has enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing and the end has them all meet perfectly in a neat conclusion. Well, as neat as you’ll get in a book where the title alone has three bodies.
The characters really do what they should. The two police officers and the policeman’s wife all play their duty bound roles perfectly and are likeable as the upholders of truth and justice. Jason, Leah and Boyd are not what I would call particularly likeable characters but I feel that is the intention of the author as instead they are heart-wrenchingly pitiful.
Jason is the most pitiable character in the whole novel, which is saying something. A man who is so overrun by emotions for an act that cruelty pushed him to commit. When given the story of how Jason ended up with murder on his conscience and a body in his back yard, I felt terrible sorrow for this man who had been beaten, emotionally and physically, to breaking point.
In her debut novel, Mason has managed to reach a level of description in squeamish scenes that I applaud. The gross out factor in some of her descriptions is definitely high and that’s not something that everyone can accomplish without seeming like they’re trying too hard.
The only issue I had with reading Three Graves Full was that it did tend to go quite slowly in some parts. I found myself having trouble getting into the book from the beginning and then throughout had moments where I found myself quite bored.
I would recommend Three Graves Full to readers who enjoy a good murder mystery with a Hitchcock-ian air of suspense.
Page count: 303 [excluding acknowledgements]
Publisher: Scribe Publications Pty Ltd