Rovens’s unsettling story of unsavory crimes connected with a small-town funeral home is not for the squeamish. Gerald Zenith has run the Sommerville Funeral Home in Foote, Ind., for 14 years, aided by Bruce Sheffield, “a thirty-year-old mama’s boy who abided by the cliché of living in his mother’s basement.” Both men have abused their positions. Gerald, who keeps two sets of books, routinely digs up graves after burials and deposits the corpses in an unmarked hole so that he can recycle the coffins. Bruce sexually abuses the bodies of dead women brought to the funeral home. Meanwhile, extreme hoarder Priscilla Wyatt accumulates possessions that include body parts unearthed by her dog. Bruce’s mother, who writes cozy mysteries with religious-themed titles such as Stop: In the Name of Jesus, has a key role to play in the grotesque events leading to the dramatic denouement. This is a straightforward cautionary tale of how the two principals’ sins eventually catch up with them. Crime novel concepts don’t come much odder or creepier. (Self-published.)
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.