Monday, November 10, 2014

RISKY UNDERTAKING by Mark de Castrique

The Buryin’ Barry Clayton books have changed.

The earlier ones were about a small town undertaker who solves murders. 

Mark de Castrique's Risky Undertaking, the new Buryin’ Barry book, is about a small town deputy sheriff who is an undertaker on the side.

Someone kills a Cherokee activist Jimmy Panther. Panther disrupted a funeral to protest what he claims is the desecration of Cherokee burial grounds.

Is the murder related to the protest, or is it related to casino issues in and around Gainesboro, North Carolina?

Panther’s murder appears to be a mob hit. Buryin’ Barry (now primarily a sheriff’s deputy) investigates. He tries to find out if a Boston hit man in town for a poker tournament committed the murder.

Along the way, someone kidnaps a well-thought-of Cherokee youth. The “risky undertaking” of the book’s title has to do with whether Barry and his cohorts can save the child. 

Risky Undertaking is well-plotted. It is interesting to read for that reason alone. The characters are as unique as always. But I miss the old Barry Clayton, the undertaker functioning in that role.

Sometimes I read books because they have different settings or unusual types of characters. The Buryin’ Barry books have changed. Now Barry is a cop. He is doing what cops do.

I wanted to dislike this book. I wanted Barry to be different. But the book is so well-plotted, I liked it in spite of myself. I recommend Risky Undertaking.

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