Three Sips to Mind the Dead…And Stay Where I Put You.

Title: Grave­minder

Title: Grave­minder
(Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author: Melissa Marr
(Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Harper­Collins
Genre: Adult, Para­nor­mal, Hor­ror
For­mat: Paper­back
Source: Pub­lisher pro­vided review copy.


Three sips to mind the dead …

Rebekkah Bar­row never for­got the atten­tion her grand­mother May­lene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her ado­les­cence. There wasn’t a funeral that May­lene didn’t attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as May­lene per­formed the same unusual rit­ual: She took three sips from a sil­ver flask and spoke the words “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.

Now May­lene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade ear­lier. She soon dis­cov­ers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remem­bers, and that May­lene had good rea­son for her odd tra­di­tions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the liv­ing and the dead are dan­ger­ously con­nected; beneath the town lies a shad­owy, law­less land ruled by the enig­matic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not prop­erly cared for, they will come back to sati­ate them­selves with food, drink, and sto­ries from the land of the liv­ing. Only the Grave­minder, by tra­di­tion a Bar­row woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Mont­gomery, with whom Bek shares a com­pli­cated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.

Although she is still griev­ing for May­lene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bar­gain, a romance that still haunts her, and a fright­en­ing new responsibility—to stop a mon­ster and put the dead to rest where they belong.


I’m a fan of Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, and jumped at the chance to read her ven­ture into adult fic­tion.  How­ever, while the char­ac­ters were adults, it didn’t feel any dif­fer­ent from her young adult series.

The small town had some creepy aspects to it mak­ing it an excel­lent set­ting for the story of the grave­minders.  Peo­ple born there gen­er­ally don’t leave, and Bek’s grand­mother has always looked after the graves.  The peo­ple have the dis­tinc­tive some­thing is going on just under the sur­face, but you don’t get brought in on the secret for a long time vibe.  Bek runs from the town, mov­ing here there and every­where, but avoid­ing com­ing home.  Until she receives a pack­age and a call.

Bek’s expe­ri­ences are not unique and there is an air of expectancy as the story unfolds.  Who is the girl wan­der­ing around killing peo­ple?  Why can’t she just set­tle down and be happy in Claysville like every­one else?  What was her grand­mother and now the rest of the town hiding?

So many ques­tions, and Marr wraps them all up to some extent in the end.  I’m not sure how I felt about that.  I know she didn’t intend this to become a series, how­ever, there are a few sub-plots that could be drawn out into fur­ther books for a series.

While the book didn’t come off as an adult book, I do think I would rec­om­mend this to any­one who loves her writ­ing.  You def­i­nitely don’t find the teenage angst as in some of her other works, but I don’t think any­thing cov­ered there isn’t some­thing that today’s young adults could handle.

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