By D. Melhoff
The Nolan morgue is more than just an ordinary funeral home. When their newest employee uncovers a supernatural conspiracy connected to a string of child murders, she must use every shred of her intelligence to stop a new breed of serial killer and escape the morgue alive.
Read an excerpt:
The old hands worked carefully with the added confidence of having done this hundreds of times. Their maneuvers were quick and precise. Fluid. Surgical.
A scalpel touched a point between the nipples on the cadaver’s chest and drifted north, unzipping the skin exactly seven inches along the sternum. Shadows played out the rest on the concrete walls: the worker selected a heavier device and hovered over the outline of the body, flicking a switch and activating a high, screeching vibration that trailed through the air and disappeared into the silhouette’s chest.
Instantly the hum dropped an octave—ggvvrrrrr, ck-ck, ggvvrrrrr—choking and sputtering as it coughed up particles of bone dust.
Ggvvrrrrr! CK-CK! Ggvvrrrr!
The mist made a macabre Tyndall effect in the lamplight.
Beyond these specks, the worker turned off the electric saw and brought up a wooden box the size of a tea chest, then withdrew something from inside.
It was too dark to see what the object was, but the worker handled it nimbly and lowered it into the body’s rib cage.
This is one of the best horror books I have read in years. My grandmother lived next to the cemetery, and we often took leisurely strolls back there. I spent my early years playing at a funeral home, because my mother was a church organist who often had to play for funerals. Of course, I was never allowed to play near where they kept the bodies, which helped to add to the creepy factor. I was also an early fan of horror books, starting with Stephen King and V.C Andrews at the tender age of 9, eventually graduating to Edgar Allen Poe, Daphne duMaurier, and Hitchcock movies in my teens. This history made the brief blurb call out to me as a must-read.
Immediately, I was drawn into Camilla's story. I found her circumstances rather odd. I mean, who abandons normal life to move to the middle of nowhere to work in a funeral home, even if she has always been a social outcast? Strange occurrences occur as soon as she sets foot in the small town. I couldn't put the book down, until it was time for me to eat. The first part of the book is definitely not something that you want to read while eating. When I got home again, I picked it back up and again couldn't put it down.
The secrets that are hiding in the basement of the Vincents' home are horrible. The townspeople shun them for what they do, but at the same time expect their help when it suits them. Then, when things go wrong again, they put all of the blame back on the Vincents. Camilla finds out the truth, yet cannot help herself by indulging in their ritual. The consequences are far-reaching and threaten to ruin everything.
There are definite elements of classic Stephen King in this book, but D. Melhoff makes the idea his own. What happens to these children makes you cringe in discomfort, but a small voice in the back of your mind wonders if you would do the same thing should the situation arise. Would it be worth it in the end? Would you be one of the lucky ones? Or would you be forced to make another impossible decision if the evil reared its ugly head?
I thought this story was well-told, with plenty of descriptions and action to make it feel like you were watching a movie while reading the words. I would love to see this book made into a movie some day. Even the book trailer seems more like a movie trailer than a book trailer. It is hard to believe that this book is the first one he has published. I look forward to more offerings from this author!
D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town located an inch above the Canadian-American border. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Raimi, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.
Official Website: www.dmelhoff.com