cover image Unbury Carol

Unbury Carol

Josh Malerman. Del Rey, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-18016-3

Malerman’s fantasy gothic is a grinding of gears moving inexorably towards one another, sometimes so slowly that it seems they will never meet. Carol Evers has a uniquely horrific problem: she occasionally dies, but only for two to four days before waking again, and while dead she hears everything around her. Her husband thinks no one besides him knows her secret, and he plans to quickly bury her the next time she dies so he can claim her enormous fortune. But outlaw James Moxie, Carol’s guilt-ridden former lover, rides to save her. While Carol fights to awaken, she is hounded by the insidious personification of Rot, who wants to claim her, and James is pursued by both Rot and a ruthless arsonist assassin hired by Dwight. A few of the side stories feel like distractions, but those of Carol and James, especially their fights against dark beings and metaphorical inner demons, will win this morbid tale some fans. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Apr.)