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Dark Reviews | Written | Books | Casket For Sale, by Jeff Strand... « Previous | Next »
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 Topic: Casket For Sale, by Jeff Strand  (Read 2035 times)

Casket For Sale, by Jeff Strand « 01/03/05 at 10:45pm » Quote | Modify
Casket For Sale (Only Used Once)
In Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary), he took a job digging up a shallow grave. It turned out badly.
In Single White Psychopath Seeks Same, he took a job as a bodyguard at a sťance. It turned out worse.
But now, meet the new, improved Andrew Mayhem. He has a real job. Heís a better father and husband. And heís vowed to quit accepting money from strange women in coffee shops to perform tasks that go terribly, terribly wrong. This time heís just taking a relaxing camping trip with his family and best friend. No shortcuts. The gas tank is full. The sinister warning of the crazy old man is taken seriously.
Unfortunately, when youíre Andrew Mayhem, you just canít help being attacked by a group of savage killers bent on inflicting horrific death. Relentlessly pursued through a booby-trapped forest, itís one crisis after another as Andrew fights to protect his family, loses a body part or two, and faces the single darkest moment of his entire life.

Having never read Jeff Strand, I opened his third installment of the Andrew Mayhem series with a bit of trepidation. I had just finished a black comedy ďsupernaturalĒ detective story that went south after the first chapter, so Iím sure you can understand my suspicion towards Casket. Can you believe I read that damn book in one sitting? Why damn? Because I didnít get any housework or paperwork done, I didnít even remember to eat. For five hours I was Jeff Strandís bitch, and I have to say people, I loved every minute of it. †
Now before we even get started I want to make something crystal clear, even though there is comedy throughout the book it never overshadows and takes over the story. Whatís that mean in laymanís terms? †This isnít a beach book that only requires a quarter of your attention with the option to skim. This story involves you, sucking you in page-by-page until your heartís racing right along with the characters. And yes, Strand is aware of the hurdles that must be jumped in order to create something unique, but donít worry he came prepared. Been-there-done-that situations are acknowledged, stereotypes are noted, and the setting is welcomed - then all are thrown out the door without even a pat or kiss. Mr. Strand, Jeff, can I call you Jeff? Jeff, you are my hero.  
Kicking off with intrigue, the pace picks up speed as you delve deeper into Mayhemís world and never loosens its vise until the end. I promise that by the time you close the book, the momentum that was created and sustained throughout will leave you breathless with beads of sweat dripping down your face. The setting is detailed, but not overwhelming. The location is random. It can be any back-road, in any town, and that is what makes it memorable. Between the eerie atmosphere and the scent of perspiration mixed with blood, Strand manages to evoke pure desperation.  
With gallant honesty and tense prose, Strandís style of writing is easy to read, but very intense. He keeps it simple without dumbing it down. With nothing to prove or preach about, he pens his tale for entertainment for both you and himself. Yes, I actually do think this one author who laughs out loud when he reads over the banter and sarcastic remarks during editing. You can tell he had fun writing this, and that is just as important as the story itself. †Taking a somewhat conventional story in which focuses more on the characters and less on the actions, he exposes what would happen in reality. Bringing forth characters that while are not always brave or admirable, are true. Mayhemís life may constantly be filled with danger and adventure, but itís the bond between all the characters that truly makes this story. Their interaction with both each other and the group of adversaries is what endears you to them. †They elicit sympathy and respect, friendship and affection. Nicely done!  
My only complaint Ė I must now abuse my credit cards in order to get everything and anything Jeff Strand has ever written!
My rating? I give it a 5. With such refreshing, sharp writing and a tight well-plotted story, this demonstrates Jeff Strand as a serious contender in the horror genre!

Posted by:  BloodyMary   Reanimated Reader
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