The Hearse You Came in on

Tim Cockey, Author
Tim Cockey, Author Hyperion Books $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6570-3
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 320 pages - 978-0-7868-6963-3
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-7868-6960-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 256 pages - 978-0-7868-6962-6
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-0-7868-6964-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-7868-8962-4
Hardcover - 978-1-58724-216-8
Hardcover - 247 pages - 978-0-316-37405-7
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A laid-back tone and lively Baltimore milieu combine with a plot overloaded with murder, blackmail, police corruption and political coverups in this debut mystery. Wisecracking Hitchcock Sewell, proprietor of Sewell & Sons Family Funeral Home, is intrigued when Carolyn James tries to arrange her own funeral, especially when a different Carolyn James turns up at the mortuary, a suicide. Hitch discovers that his attractive visitor was Det. Kate Zabriskie, working on a special case for Baltimore Police Commissioner Alan Stuart. Someone is blackmailing Stuart, who's running for Maryland governor, with videos of his wealthy, promiscuous wife in bed with tennis pro Guy Fellows, who's just been murdered and was Carolyn's boyfriend. Meanwhile, Kate is trying to recover from the death of her husband, an undercover cop she accidentally killed in a stakeout. The ease with which Stuart manipulates Kate, taking advantage of her grief and guilt, stretches credibility; so does her slowness to recognize his motives. Kate and Hitch soon become romantic partners as they pursue a trail leading to illegal toxic waste-dumping and murder-for-hire. Appealing characters abound--in Hitch's amateur theater group, his hangout the Screaming Oyster Saloon and the Maine seaport where Kate and Hitch track a crooked retired cop. Baltimore's neighborhoods as well as its class and political structures are ably depicted, though the pleasant ambience and chatty tone, which often slow the tempo, are at odds with the dark underlying themes of wanton corruption and vicious emotional exploitation. Even so, with this novel Cockey and Hitch, mortician extraordinaire, make a welcome entrance to the genre. Agent, Victoria Sanders. U.K. rights to Piatkus. (Mar.)
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