Every once in a while a novel comes along that is so different and so cleverly written that you just know that it will remain in your memory for years to come. “Three graves full” by debut novelist Jamie Mason is such a novel.
The protagonist, Jason Getty is a mild mannered, meek widower living in suburban Michigan. Oh… and he is also a murderer. He is still a sympathetic character though due to the fact he was bullied unmercifully and broke under the pressure. However… rather than confessing to the authorities he buried his victim in his backyard. He is riddled by guilt and his anxiety is palpable. The author writes of this guilt with empathy and scathing wit. The superior writing causes the reader to laugh aloud while at the same time feeling anxious for Jason and his predicament.
Jason’s conscience is so uneasy that just the memory of digging the hole for his victim has put him off digging in the ground – period. As a result, his garden and yard are sadly unkempt. He decides that he will hire a firm of landscape gardeners so that his neighbors will not complain or become suspicious. He gives them strict instructions to only work in the front yard and to not touch the back. Imagine his shock and dismay when one of the workers knocks on his door saying that he has found a body in his garden! And it is NOT the one Jason buried! When another body surfaces, Jason’s dilemma escalates. Surely it is only a matter of time before the authorities discover his secret…
The Michigan police investigating the crime are well rounded and likable characters. One of the policemen has a dog, Tessa, who becomes a major character in the storyline. In fact she was one of my favorite characters!
Once the dead bodies are identified, the girlfriend of one of the deceased visits Jason’s home to see for herself where her boyfriend died. It is at this point that Jason’s life begins to unravel in rather extraordinary ways.
The reader is feverishly turning the pages to discover what will become of Jason. Rooting for his escape from justice – and feeling his immense stress. The humor of the writing provides much needed comic relief from Jason’s nerve-racking escapades.
This mystery fiction debut is nothing short of masterful. Kudos to Jamie Mason for writing such a memorable and enjoyable novel.
Jamie Mason was born in Oklahoma City and grew up all over the Washington, DC area. She’s most often reading and writing, but in the life left over, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, football, traveling, and, conversely, staying at home. Jamie lives with her husband and two daughters in the mountains of western North Carolina. She is the author of Three Graves Full, Monday’s Lie, and The Hidden Things, all from Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books.