Three Graves Full

( 19 )

Overview

A Library Journal Best Book of 2013!
A Booklist Best Crime Novel of 2013!

There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard. But it could always be worse…

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable ...

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Three Graves Full

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Overview

A Library Journal Best Book of 2013!
A Booklist Best Crime Novel of 2013!

There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard. But it could always be worse…

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.

Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime, and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece clues together with the help of a volunteer police dog—all in the shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each character discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn't necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.

Jamie Mason’s irrepressible debut is a macabre, darkly humorous tale with the thoughtful beauty of a literary novel, the tense pacing of a thriller, and a clever twist of suspense.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“Ripping good novel…Mason has a witty and wicked imagination, yet she’s also responsive to the pains of inarticulate people…
Starred Review (A Top Ten Crime Novel of 2013) Booklist
Portraying characters so well and so thoroughly, examining and explaining their motives even for murder, requires a level of skill that is rare, marking this as an astonishingly accomplished debut and Mason as a writer to watch very closely.
Bookreporter - Joe Hartlaub
Not simply a great debut novel or a noble first effort; it is purely a wonderful book from beginning to end.... Pitch-perfect pacing, unforgettable descriptions, and quirky but realistic characters abound from page to page. It is a perfect one-sit read, not because there aren’t places where you can comfortably stop, but because you simply will want to keep forging ahead... Take the hint and read it.
KillerNashville.com - Clay Stafford
"A delightful frolic in a mysterious and unpredictable tour de force of horrific efforts by a debut author. When it gets really weird, it is like quicksand, sucking you deeper. Peppered with delightful asides that made me chuckle, no good deed goes unpunished. Great twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. "
Words and Pieces
"...slick, fast-paced and moves to it’s conclusion with an inevitably that appears unstoppable."
Portland Book Review
"A grieving fiancé, a vindictive murderer and a police detective who won’t accept simple answers drive a tale of blunders, violence and, remarkably, something like justice."
Booklist
"Mason hooks the reader with her first sentence, “There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.” Even less when the bodies keep piling up, but their provenance remains murky. An astonishingly accomplished debut."
Bookspan
Filled with biting wit and great prose style, Three Graves Full by newcomer Jamie Mason may be the debut of the year.
From the Publisher
"Jamie Mason wields a pen that magically blends beautiful prose with unrelenting thrills. Each page delivers something new and fresh; in her hands, even the mundane becomes extraordinary. Grab a chair with a comfortable edge, because Mason will keep you poised there until the final page."
—Alex Adams, author of White Horse

Three Graves Full is something special - an offbeat, high-class, pacey mystery that blends black humor with dark lyricism, and deft, intricate plotting with dead-on psychological insight. This is a gem of a debut.”
—Tana French, author of In the Woods

"Three Graves Full is an astonishing debut novel, smart and stylish and wonderfully light on its feet. Jamie Mason writes crisp, surprising sentences, and this aura of wit infuses her lovely plot with an absolutely Hitchcockian menace. I think she was probably born to be a writer, and I eagerly look forward to whatever she will do next."

—Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author

Booklist, Starred Review - Michele Leber
Portraying characters so well and so thoroughly, examining and explaining their motives even for murder, requires a level of skill that is rare, marking this as an astonishingly accomplished debut and Mason as a writer to watch very closely.
New York Journal of Books - John M. Wills
An extraordinary debut novel that ensnares the reader in its web of suspense and ratchets up the anxiety with each chapter...Three Graves Full is deep and dark, yet funny, a refreshing combination that snags the reader like a grappling hook—destined to become a success.
New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
“Ripping good novel…Mason has a witty and wicked imagination, yet she’s also responsive to the pains of inarticulate people…
The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
…[a] ripping good novel…Mason has a witty and wicked imagination…
Publishers Weekly
Mason strides confidently into Coen brothers territory with her highly entertaining, solidly plotted debut about loneliness and the need for companionship. Sad sack Jason Getty has lived in fear ever since killing a man in a rage and burying the body in a remote corner of his yard some 17 months earlier. Just as the guilt-stricken Jason decides that he has gotten away with the crime, the landscaping crew he’s hired to clean up his neglected property find a body under the mulch bed beneath his bedroom window. Police later unearth a second body nearby. Neither is the man he murdered. While the police investigate and Jason worries about that third body, Leah Tamblin becomes obsessed with discovering if one of the bodies is Reid Reynolds, her often unfaithful fiancé who disappeared 13 days before their wedding. With sly wit Mason tweaks genre clichés while respecting crime fiction tenets. Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management. (Feb.)
Library Journal
It's been a year since Jason Getty killed a man and buried him in his yard. But when Jason hires a lawn service, two more graves of which he had been unaware are uncovered. This discovery begins the unraveling of Jason's already precarious sanity and will lead a cast of characters, including two detectives and a very special dog, to a unique killer and dual stories of betrayal and murder. Mason's prose is at times as lovely as poetry, and wry humor deftly offsets her grim tale to devastating effect. This tale has more twists than a corkscrew and you'll find yourself surprised at nearly every turn. Each character is brought to life with startling clarity, and if you think you can't sympathize with a murderer, think again. Especially delightful is unofficial police dog Tessa, who will make readers grin and break their hearts in equal measure. VERDICT Mason has written a quirky and downright thrilling treat that is not to be missed. Fans of Tana French and Erin Kelly especially will find themselves entranced by this nearly perfect debut.—Kristin Centorcelli, Denton, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Mason's quirky debut novel deftly weaves dark humor into a plot that's as complicated as a jigsaw puzzle but more fun to put together. Jason Getty has a secret that's come close to ruining his life. It's colored everything he has said or done in the past year, even down to neglecting his suburban yard. As it turns out, he might have been better off leaving that yard of his alone, because that's what ultimately undoes him in this entertaining story of a man and the three dead bodies buried outside his ordinary little house. Jason knows about one of the bodies because he put it there. A mild-mannered widower whose late wife wasn't exactly his biggest fan, he ended up spending one long, terrible night digging a grave on the edge of his property's woods, shoveling rich dirt over a man's sheet-covered remains. Then, Jason tried to forget about the grave, ignoring his yard and allowing it to grow over with weeds and unkempt bushes. After enough time had passed, Jason began to feel safe, thinking his secret would remain undiscovered. That prompts him to abandon caution and hire a lawn-care company to install some new landscaping, but he covers himself by making certain the workers stay far away from the hidden body. Turns out that body isn't the problem; instead of unearthing Jason's secret, they dig up not one, but two additional bodies in the yard, and Jason has no idea whom either corpse might be. When a couple of police detectives with a very smart dog and a pair of interlopers show up to complicate matters, the stage is set for one of the strangest nights ever, much of it staged in Jason's yard. Although the self-consciously clever prose threatens to overwhelm them, the characters keep the action rolling in a tale that is often very funny in a weird sort of way. Mason's written a dandy of a first outing with not a single boring moment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451685046
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 8/20/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 933,864
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Jamie Mason was born in Oklahoma City, but grew up in Washington, DC. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous Debut!

    Poor Jason Getty has spent most of his life being mild, wishy-washy, invisible to everyone. One day, he has had enough with being pushed around and commits murder-best part-he seems to have gotten away with it, using his backyard to bury the evidence! Too bad he needed some landscaping done, yep, not so smart, huh? His landscaper uncovers a body in his yard, except it isn't the one he planted!

    In a twisted and convoluted tale, several strangers converge on Jason's life, each with their own agenda, each with a connection to at least one of the three bodies buried in his yard. The detective, is just doing his job. The abandoned fiance needs answers, no matter what! Then there is the former owner of the house, a strange recluse who is either himself, or his twin brother!

    This book comes complete with a who-dun-it mystery, the chase scene in the night, and the awesome dog, who saves the day! A great read with characters too stereo-typical not to be real and totally likable!!!!! The ending, was NOT what I expected! This read fast, hooked me in and made me laugh a few times, too!

    This ARC copy of THREE GRAVES FULL was given to me by NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review. Pub Date Feb 12 2013

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely nails that difficult mix of macabre humour and horrific suspense

    I've always been a huge Hitchcock fan, even though I grew up well after the height of his career. Personally, I like his darker films, those with a bit of macabre humour to them, like The Trouble With Harry. It's rare to find anybody who can manage to recapture that magic - Shallow Grave is the only successful example that comes to mind - so I was cautiously optimistic when Three Graves Full came my way and I read the opening of the cover blurb

    Much to my delight, Jamie Mason absolutely nailed the difficult mix of macabre humour and horrific suspense, weaving a story that keeps the reader on edge, never quite sure in which direction it will go. It all starts with a meek, quiet, lonely young man by the name of Jason who is still mourning the untimely death of his wife - who was planning to leave him - and who is haunted by the body he buried at the back of his property line. Too wracked with guilt to tend to his lawn, he calls in a professional landscaping service to tidy up the front yard and the sides of his house, where the discover the first body.

    The discovery of the second body leads us to Leah, an equally quiet, equally lonely young woman who is still mourning the murder of her husband, and who is haunted by the the absence of a body to provide closure. It also leads us to Boyd, a man on the fringe of society with a connection to Jason's house, Leah's husband, and the second body buried beneath the window. If it all sounds convoluted and complicated, it is, but that's part of the beauty of the tale. Mason slowly unveils the life story of these characters, connecting the dots for us, while establishing their deepest motives.

    Once the police begin to close in, the tension truly begins to mount, and once Jason decides he has to dig up the third body before the police do, all three characters find themselves drawn together in a case of mistaken identities, misplaced suspicious, and wrong-place/wrong-time disasters. It's the kind of story where you can see the twists coming, but can do nothing to evade them, no matter how much you cringe. With the bulk of the action taking place over about 12 hours, you just want everybody to stop, to pause, and to take a breath, but fear and guilt do not make for rational thought.

    Even once the story switches from subtle mystery to over-the-top action, Mason keeps tight hold of the reigns, somehow managing to juggle all the different plot lines and character motivations. By the time we careen madly towards the conclusion, with strange alliances and fresh bodies muddying things further, the story takes a final twist, and this time you don't see it coming. It works - beautifully, in fact - with a finale that's not only rewarding on its own, but worthy of the intricate tale that proceeds it.

    Extraordinarily well-done, this is a book that I would love to see filmed, but only with the right director at the helm. If you're a fan of Hitchcock, or perhaps the Coen brothers, there is a lot here to enjoy. If that opening of the cover blurb sounds at all appealing, then give it a read - you won't regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Great book

    This is an original storyline that keeps you guessing. Hope to see more from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2013

    A Good Read

    Enjoyed this book..lots of suspense.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2013

    There¿s absolutely nothing funny about murdering someone and the

    There’s absolutely nothing funny about murdering someone and then burying the body in the back yard. However, in an odd sort of dry-witted way, it’s told funny. Then when the gardeners find a different body in Jason’s flower bed, it gets even funnier. The story loops and dives its way around, building to the long drop, until all the characters end up in Jason’s yard in a scene that crosses the Three Stooges with the goriest slasher flick. Once Tessa is added into this crazy mix, the plot ratchets tighter. By the end, Mason had me laughing and crying. Really good ride. Received free copy for review. May have to pick up my own copy and actually spend money for it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2013

    I read an author interview before I dug into the book. (Sorry, n

    I read an author interview before I dug into the book. (Sorry, no pun intended.) I love to see where a writer's mind goes from one simple idea, or in this case, a newspaper headline. Every detail that played out had you waiting to see where it would go from there. Each character was so unique - you wanted to know more about them. I love when books aren't written chapter by chapter - in order. You want to know what's next & you have to go back & find out how they got there. Love it. It's not a gory murder mystery - it's truly a unique, fabulous read. I don't share many books with my husband. We both enjoyed this one. I look forward to more from this author for sure! 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    Not your average thriller

    Goes above and beyond most mysteries, right from the start. Don't want to ruin it for those who haven't read it yet (some other reviewers give too much away and some don't even have their facts straight - Reid's last name isn't Montgomery and he is not Boyd's twin brother. Reid and Boyd are of no relation to one another).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his b

    There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.




    But it could always be worse. . . .




    More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.




    My Thoughts
    In Jamie Mason’s debut novel she has come up with a very unique plot. Seriously 3 bodies in the same yard left by at least 2 different killers. With elements of dark humor she serves up a complicated mystery with many twists and turns.




    The story is told from multiple points of view and I will admit sometimes the timeline and all the characters got a bit confusing but as the story continues and relationships play out it gets easier to follow. The main character Jason Getty was a lost soul and easy prey for Gary Harris. The other characters did not really stand out for me with the exception of the very talented dog that ended up playing a major role.




    Remembering this is the author’s first book they are several excellent elements to build on. The premise of the story was fantastic. She has a very descriptive way of writing which I enjoyed. The dialogue between characters and the comedic content was almost there but not quite. I encourage her to work on her character development so the reader is drawn to more than the main character.  Something that makes the supporting characters memorable. Jamie Mason shows great promise and she is definitely an author I will be expecting big things from.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2013

    Jamie Mason has a great opening line ¿There is very little peace

    Jamie Mason has a great opening line “There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.” You know you are in for a great read when the first line grabs you! Once we started, it was hard to put this book down.

    It seems nothing can go Jason Getty’s way; a failed marriage (unbeknown to him), followed by his wife’s untimely but natural death, in-laws that hate him and an uncanny ability to let people walk all over him. They say no good deed goes unpunished and this rings true for Mr. Getty! After helping a man at the gas station fill the tank of his motorcycle, Jason unwittingly gains a new frenemie, Garry Harris (Harris). After months of being courted by a new friendship with Harris, Harris proceeds to robs Jason’s in-laws and in the process blackmails Jason to keep everything quiet. After being used, abused and threatened Jason finally loses his temper, snaps, kills Harris and buries him in the back yard at the edge of the property. The guilt from what he has done has been destroying his life for months; he can’t even enjoy his own yard. Finally one day he decides to hire a lawn crew to clean up (his front yard only) when they discover a dead body buried under Jason’s bedroom window. And thus begins Jason’s journey into Three Graves Full…

    This is a fast paced read. It had wonderful character development with loveable quirks for each personality. We enjoyed the beginning when each chapter seemed to introduce a new character (including Detective Ford’s dog Tessa). You get to know intimate details of all of the characters while staying on course with the story. Each of the three dead bodies has its own unique story line with multiple characters. The main story line was somewhat predictable but in no way does this distract from the descriptions and narration. Both were so vivid and picturesque it felt more like a movie than a book.

    We didn’t really see the “dark humor” referenced in other reviews, but do not feel this took away from the enjoyment of the book in any way.

    If you love a good mystery/thriller and a few graphic details of gore and violence do not offend/disturb you, this should be the next book you add to your collection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Jamie Mason serves up a balanced delivery of dark humor and clev

    Jamie Mason serves up a balanced delivery of dark humor and clever plot twists in her debut novel Three Graves Full.




    As meek-mannered Jason Getty laments over killing Gary Harris, he cannot help but think about him now; nearly a year later. He wished he had never met him and more importantly, tormented himself with the notion of what possessed him to bury his remains on the back forty of his property. He was sick of looking at the overgrown crabgrass that was once his perfectly manicured lawn. More importantly, what if the landscaping crew he decided to hire goes beyond the grooming boundaries Jason had defined? When the crew digs up not one, but two bodies along the perimeter of Mr. Getty’s house, it doesn’t take Getty long to snap out of his reverie. There was no way he was taking the fall for those bodies. One thing was clear. It seems Jason Getty’s home was the perfect place to dispose of bodies—be it by him or someone else.




    When Detective Tim Bayard and a forensics team arrive on the scene, preliminary forensics determines the remains are those of one female and one male. The bones are identified as Katielynn Montgomery and Reid Montgomery—two persons gone missing quite some time ago. It seems once upon a time Reid Montgomery had wedding plans with Leah Tamblin and up and went missing; never to be seen or heard from again… until now. Getty let out more than a sigh of relief when time of death was earmarked long before he purchased the place he now called home. At least he was in the clear for two (possible) murders. It is when Reid’s twin brother (and Katielynn’s husband) Boyd is introduced that the reader is led down yet another path that somehow connects, Boyd, Jason and Leah on a road toward a destiny none of them could have imagined no matter how hard they tried.




    Ms. Mason hooks the reader from inception in Three Graves Full. However, I think this title is destined for an audience who thrives on the minutia of detail while taxing his or her mind with the challenge of figuring it out before the story plays out to its end; the satisfaction being the element of surprise when he or she arrives at “The End.” She is too quick to introduce a bevy of characters in a short window of pages. Voracious readers will gobble this style up and I complement Ms. Mason for her ability to stay true to her plot. However, as she continues to fold details into the mounting intrigue, perhaps there is a little too much going on for the casual reader to follow. It is clear Ms. Mason knows her audience and the storyline does not drag which makes this a solid murder mystery. I will caution the reader, however, to pay close attention in the early pages because the information is foundational to the plot.




    Quill Says: Three Graves Full makes a person wonder just exactly what is beneath that top layer of soil in their back yard and more importantly, do you really want to know?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Interesting plot but the writing does not live up to it's potent

    Interesting plot but the writing does not live up to it's potential. Not much character development and a whole lot of words that could have been used to develop characters and storyline was, instead, wasted on information that added nothing to the story. A book that doesn't rely on character conversations to develop the story needs to be really good at using words that paint a picture for the reader. This book fails to do that. I started skimming through the pages about halfway into the book. I don't think that I lost any important details that would have made a difference in my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    this book has a clever & interestingly-weird plot, but the a

    this book has a clever & interestingly-weird plot, but the author's writing style is often a distraction: 1. too many contrived similes and analogies  2. too much narrative, not enough dialogue  3. too many unnatural contractions 4. no geography reference  5. too much silly dog involvement...  ok first novel, but work to-be-done...  

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Jamie Mason's debut novel, Three Graves Full, has a doozy of an

    Jamie Mason's debut novel, Three Graves Full, has a doozy of an  opening line:"There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in the backyard."How can one resist reading onward? Jason Getty killed a man and buried his body in the backyard. But that is not the immediate problem. The landscaping crew that Getty hired to put plants in his front yard found a dead body, and it's not the one that Getty buried.
    The police arrive and they find a second body buried in the front yard; again, not the one that Getty buried. Getty starts to panic, and like a cross between an Edgar Allen Poe story and a Cohen brothers movie, this novel turns the screws tighter.
    The detectives find a bloody purse inside one of the walls, belonging to the woman who used to live in Getty's house: she is one of the dead bodies. The other body belonged to a guy who had been missing for a few years. Using a luminol light, they show Getty where the crime took place in the master bedroom. But there is also blood in the living room, where Getty killed a man who tormented and bullied him.
    Getty is a quiet, lonely guy since his wife died. He's never been in trouble, never been violent. He meets a man who starts showing up unannounced at Getty's home, barging his way into Getty's life. This guy is bad news, a punk thief who eventually steals not only from Getty, but keeps evidence framing Getty for a robbery at his former father-in-law's mansion.
    Getty panics, believing he needs to move his dead body before the police find that one too. More people get involved in the story: the two detectives, the dead man in the front yard's fiancee, the man who killed the two people in the front yard and pretty soon you are racing through the pages to see just how this thing ends.
    Mason writes beautifully, as in this sentence about Getty staying close to home after his wife died."Ultimately, it would have been better for Jason to have undone, rather than simply lengthen, the apron strings to his original hometown."There is a lot of action here- chase scenes, fight scenes- and all of it had me biting my nails to the quick. Only one thing struck a false note. There is a terrific fight scene at Getty's house, where there are chairs overturned, and a door is smashed in, but when a detective goes to the home, he fails to see the broken door or the trashed living room. An experienced cop would have seen the broken door before he went in. Maybe I'm being too picky.
    Three Graves Full takes an average guy who makes a bad decision and has to extricate his way out, all the while digging himself a bigger hole. Mason kept my attention as I wondered what would happen to Getty, and her ending was a satisfying one indeed. She is an exciting new voice in suspense novels.

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  • Posted March 14, 2013

    Thrilling New Read Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason is one of t

    Thrilling New Read

    Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason is one of the best books I have read in awhile.  This book is such an exciting and different read that will keep the reader guessing until the very last page.  You will read this book in one sitting, because there is always something new that is happening that won’t let you put the book down.

    This book revolves around three different graves on one man’s property.  Jason Getty is a mild-mannered man that finds himself in a predicament that ultimately ends up with him killing and burying a man on his property.  Unfortunately, two other bodies are found on his property which causes Getty to scramble to cover up his own crime.  When Getty is digging up the body, several other characters show up and a race to save him and others occurs.  However, will Getty be able to save everyone and get away with his own crimes?

    I highly recommend this new thrilling read, especially if you like thrillers with unsuspecting twists.  Jamie Mason demonstrates clearly he knows how to write a new and different thriller with an unsuspecting ending. You will think you have it figured out, but just wait because you don’t!

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted to give this book more than 3 stars, but couldn't quite

    I wanted to give this book more than 3 stars, but couldn't quite give it 4.  An enjoyable read overall.  

    It took me a while after I finished Three Graves Full, the debut novel by Jamie Mason, to decide exactly what I thought of it. In fact, three or so days later, I am still not sure. Overall I liked it, but it was certainly not what I was expecting. 




    More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried. The first line of the book states "There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard."Sounds like the beginning to a typical thriller/suspense novel, doesn't it? But this book is not even close to typical for this genre, nor was it at all what I expected. I expected a novel with a lot of drama, drama of the serious bent. 




    There was a lot of drama in this book, but it was more the drama-queen, eye-rolling sort of drama. Typically when I read a thriller I expect a lot of "Oh my, I didn't see that coming" moments, maybe some chills running up the spine and a little bit of worry about how everyone is going to survive. I don't expect to by cracking a smile and shaking my head in wonder at how absurd a situation can get. The sort of black humor that fills this book is definitely what sets it apart from your typical psychological thriller. About 20 pages into the book, Jason Getty's life veers horribly out of control and from there on, the book careens on to it's conclusion. 




    I admit, before I read this book I had not read the part of the publishers blurb that likened this book to a Coen Brothers movie. If I had, I probably would have been more in tune with what to expect. Those types of movies are not for everyone and, like the movies, neither is this book, I think. As the blurb says, though, if you like your thrillers with a bit of sharp humor, you will like this book. If you like characters who are swept along by their circumstances and whose lives are totally out of control, you will like this book. If you like watching a train wreck and just are not able to tear your eyes away, then you will like this book. 




    As to the nuts and bolts of the book, I thought the writing was quite good and the characters were well developed. I particularly liked the way that Jamie Mason let the reader into the minds of her characters. From Jason, whose out of control life becomes the focal point of the story, through Leah Tamblin, the detectives on the case, Gary Harris, all the way down to Tessa the dog, the way that she highlighted the internal workings of their minds was a real treat.




    So - why did I give the book 3 stars, instead of 4? Well along with everything that was good, there were a few things that I put me off. For one thing, the author had a habit of referring to her characters by their last names in one sentence, and then by their first names in the next. For example, sometimes the lead detective was Tim, sometimes he was Bayard. In addition, although I liked the inclusion of the inner workings of the mind of Tessa the dog, I thought that they were a bit drawn out and ended up skimming some of that part of the book. 




    My final thoughts, if you like the Coen Brothers movies, or the dark humor of some of the stories of Alfred Hitcock, you will love this book. If you are in the mood for something different than the usual, this is the book for you. I struggled with how to rate this book as I didn't quite feel it was up to a 4 star standard, but it was definitely more than a 3 star read. I would really love to have given it 3.5 stars. I can definitely see myself reading more by this author. 




    Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the unproofed copy of this book they allowed me to read.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Bodies buried in the backyard. Well, the front yard, too. And he

    Bodies buried in the backyard. Well, the front yard, too. And he only killed one of them. Excellently plotted and filled with surprises, it is an unlikely romp of Good Samaritans, curious wives, a couple of helpful detectives, twins, a few low-lives that need to die, a dog who will stop at nothing, and a monkey. A delightful frolic in a mysterious and unpredictable tour de force of horrific efforts by a debut author. When it gets really weird, it is like quicksand, sucking you deeper. Peppered with delightful asides that made me chuckle, no good deed goes unpunished. Great twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. I loved the ending. I'm not going to give it away, but it was exactly what was needed, true justice be done. Watch for more from this talented writer. - Clay Stafford, author and founder of Killer Nashville

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  • Posted February 20, 2013

    I wanted to enjoy this book. The moment I read the description,

    I wanted to enjoy this book. The moment I read the description, I knew I would like the plot, so I wanted to like the rest as well. Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out like that.

    Jason thinks himself a reasonable, calm man. That image however disagrees with the body buried in his backyard, the body he knows is there but he won’t acknowledge. In an effort to hide it even more, he hires a landscaping team who stumble upon a body in his backyard. The only problem? It’s not the body of the man Jason buried. The body belongs to a woman, and Jason has no idea why she’s in his backyard to begin with.

    With the police inspectors sensing something is wrong, each passing moment makes Jason more and more nervous. But Jason isn’t the only one with worries on his mind. As the detective, Tim Bayard, continues his investigation, he stumbles upon a second body. And then evidence in Jason’s home indicates a third murder took place in the house…

    Leah’s fiancé disappeared years ago, and when she hears about the bodies discovered in Jason’s backyard, she goes out to investigate, wanting to see her husband’s possible grave. The moment Jason and Leah meet, their stories collide and continue onward down the same path as the killer of two of the bodies makes an appearance.

    I was kind of hoping something supernatural would happen after the bodies were discovered and the police found evidence of the crimes in Jason’s house. Although I have no idea why I was hoping for something like that, besides my obvious fascination with the supernatural, but anyway, nothing happened. Jason is an interesting character though, and that made up for the lack of action at the start of the book. You figure out quite soon he’s the murderer of one of the people buried in the backyard. He’s a loner with a quiet, calm personality. And even though I wanted to hate him, not just because he killed someone, although that was the primary reason, I couldn’t bring myself to hate him. There was something about him that made me like him, despite my initial feelings. He’s the kind of person you end up feeling sorry for, because no matter what he did, life always backfired on him.

    I liked the first part of the book well-enough, but the level drops down significantly the moment Jason and Leah meet up. What happens is a game of cat and mouse with the killer, a car chase and other things that, in my opinion, belonged in an action movie. It made the book on the whole rather appear like a comedy. I like dark humor, but this humor didn’t fit. It wasn’t dark enough, and at times too dark. It was odd for me to read about.

    At times, the author showed moments of sheer brilliance. Unfortunately she doesn’t keep that up during the entire book. The end result is an exciting, sometimes suspenseful thriller that shows us deeper insight into the human mind as it follows Jason through his troublesome life. I enjoyed it, but it won’t end up on my favorite-reads list.

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    Posted April 14, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

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