Amy MacKinnon, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $24 (261p) ISBN 978-0-307-40896-9

MacKinnon's debut offers an authentic view of an undertaker's job, but the passivity of her emotionally wounded heroinemay exasperate some readers. In Brockton,Mass., lonely Clara Marsh tends to the dead at Bartholomew Funeral Home, whose kindly owner reminds Clara of the undertaker she met as a child at her mother's funeral. When Trecie, a neglected little girl, begins hanging around the funeral parlor, Clara thinks nothing of it until a routine body pickup uncovers a stash of child pornography and Clara recognizes Trecie in a video. The ensuing investigation also points to Precious Doe, an unidentified child murdered three years earlier and whose grave Clara often visits in secret. Aided by a sensitive Irish cop, Det. Mike Sullivan, to whom she's attracted, Clara tries to unravel the mystery, even if that means confronting her own unpleasant past. Some affecting, understated prose only partially redeems the flat story line. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/16/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 143 pages - 978-0-307-45005-0
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5728-8
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-307-40920-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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