cover image Garden of the Dead

Garden of the Dead

Andrew Neiderman. Severn, $27.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6978-4

The prolific Neiderman, best known for The Devil's Advocate after its big-screen treatment, treads water with this subpar thriller. An unusual request disrupts the pedestrian existence of upstate New Yorker Randy Quinn, a bachelor who's been a loner all his life thanks to his family's business%E2%80%94a cemetery and funeral home. Evelyn Kitchen, who was the object of Quinn's desire in high school, and her snobby twin brother, Stuart, claim that their late father, successful businessman Matthew Kitchen, asked to be buried with "his Rolex, gold necklace, gold bracelet and diamond wedding ring." Quinn tries to keep the elder Kitchen's being buried with valuable jewelry under wraps, but when he suspects the man's grave has been disturbed, he digs up the coffin and makes an upsetting discovery that plunges him into a murder mystery. A dull lead and a slow-moving plot make for a dull read. (May)