Review copy provided as part of the A Living Grave blog tour.
A Living Grave, the latest from Robert Dunn, is thriller and mystery book rolled into one. For me this book is different from my past reading experiences from Robert Dunn. I’ve read about aliens and if I’m being honest they scare the holy hell out of me. I’ve read about crazy doctors and muscle cars, but A Living Grave is something very different, at least to me. Again if I’m being honest it may be the best book from Robert Dunn I’ve read. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while and I loved it, all of it. I was ‘all in’ as the saying goes after the first chapter and hated putting it down for work, sleep or even long enough to grab a bite to eat.
Katrina Williams is called to respond to a call from the county dispatch. She meets a man named Clarence Bolin who has found a dead girl. The same one that Katrina recently heard was a missing person. Angela Briscoe is lying dead in a field near Clare’s favorite fishing hole. After questioning Clare, Katrina knows he hasn’t commit the crime, but she is sure he is telling her everything. Stranger yet is the word Leech is found carved in the trees near the scene. Katrina doesn’t know what to think about the strange carvings in the trees. She knows there must be a connection, what it is is the mystery. In the midst of Katrina’s investigation her past comes roaring back. With the ghosts of her past on her heals she struggles to keep them quiet. Two of the men she accused of assaulting her while she was in the army are dead. The deaths don’t bring her satisfaction, they are only a reminder that the army turned their back on her.
Robert Dunn brings Katrina to life, giving her multidimensional and complicated history. Her back story is one that will crush you and her struggle to keep those ghosts behind her will make you love her. She is a character that is solid and real, someone you can relate to on many levels. To say I loved this character would be an understatement. Katrina is a character that seamlessly moves from the pages of A Living Grave into reality. Robert Dunn doesn’t just write a characters, he breathes life into them. When Katrina talks of ‘keeping her ghosts behind her’ and ‘trying not to think of a lot of things’ this is what makes her relatable. I know I’ve had these same thoughts, more days than not, and this is how Robert Dunn made Katrina real to me. When I first saw the title, it made me wonder what significance it held. The synopsis was clear enough but I still wondered if there was another meaning. To me it meant that if you live life with enough pain you are only existing and not really living. I think this was the struggle Katrina was living with. She was just going through the motions and not seeing the color in the world. I may have read too much into the title but after reading A Living Grave this felt about right to me.
Length: 266 Pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Release date: September 13, 2016
Katrina Williams left the Army ten years ago disillusioned and damaged. Now a sheriff’s detective at home in the Missouri Ozarks, Katrina is living her life one case at a time—between mandated therapy sessions—until she learns that she’s a suspect in a military investigation with ties to her painful past.
The disappearance of a local girl is far from the routine distraction, however. Brutally murdered, the girl’s corpse is found by a bottlegger whose information leads Katrina into a tangled web of teenagers, moonshiners, motorcycle clubs, and a fellow veteran battling illness and his own personal demons. Unraveling each thread will take time Katrina might not have, as the Army investigator turns his searchlight on the devastating incident that ended her military career. Now Katrina will need to dig deep for the truth—before she’s found buried…
Praise for Robert Dunn and A Living Grave-
“The Red Highway is not one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year, or that I’ve read in a long time…it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read! It was an incredible read, one that has so many layers that I was completely enthralled with the story. 5+++ stars!”
-2 Book Lovers Reviews
“This is hardboiled fiction at its best. We’re talking Elmore Leonard territory. A fantastic read and I hope there’s more to come.”
–Hunter Shea, Author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon on A Living Grave
“Dunn’s lyrical descriptions of Katrina’s inner struggles and demons read almost like poetry as he weaves an intricate and deadly plot of motorcycle gangs, the MOB, cancer survival, and child abuse into a novel so rife with complex feelings and life-situations, you are compelled to read it slowly, so you don’t miss a nuance of the gut-wrenching emotions he elicits from his characters.”
– Peggy Jaeger, Author of The Voices of Angels
“Parts of this book moved me to tears while others made me want to cheer out loud at Katrina’s kick-ass-atude. The twists and turns in the story kept me on the edge of my seat until the entirely satisfying ending. I’m so happy that this is just the start of what promises to be a totally addictive series! I highly recommend this phenomenal 5 star read.”
-Horror Maiden’s Book Reviews
Robert Dunn, Biography-
Robert Dunn was an Army brat born in Alabama and finally settled in Nixa, Missouri. A graduate of Drury College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications/Film he also earned a second major in Philosophy with a minor in Religion and carried an emphasis in Theatre. This course of study left him qualified only to be a televangelist.
An award-winning film/video producer and writer, he has written scripts for or directed every kind of production from local 30-second television commercial spots to documentary productions and travelogues.
A writer of blognovels and contributor to various fiction websites his work has also included the book length prose poem, Uncle Sam, the collection of short stories, Motorman and Other Stories and novels Behind the Darkness and The Red Highway.
Mr. Dunn now resides in Kansas City where he continues to write genre fiction and experiment with mixed media art projects using hand drawn and painted elements combined through digital paint and compositing.