cover image Secrets of the Dead

Secrets of the Dead

Simon Clark. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8417-6

Nightwalking mummies and sadistic drug lords make awkward bedfellows in this slow-going supernatural mystery from British Fantasy Award-winner Clark (Her Vampyrrhic Heart). Archaeological photographer John Tolworth is a happily married father of three. He comes home to Devon to assist in identifying the enigmatic “Gold Tomb” mummies of Baverstock Castle, apparently untroubled by the weird events at Baverstock that left his childhood friend Philip Kemmis physically and psychologically shattered. Confronted with impossible data, osteo­archaeologist Samantha Oldfield becomes convinced of some uncanny impending “convergence” between the ancient mummies and John’s own family. When violent thug Micky Dunt comes seeking one of John’s children to pay off a debt, the distant past and the immediate future are set for a fatal collision. Clark’s plain prose adequately evokes the bodily horror of mummification and the unquiet dead, but laborious recaps and info dumps slacken the pace until even a late-breaking illumination of this “lethal loop of events” arrives as one more flat expository statement. Agent: Lesley Pollinger, Pollinger Limited. (Nov.)