cover image Beyond the Grave: A Grim Reaper Mystery

Beyond the Grave: A Grim Reaper Mystery

Judy Clemens. Poisoned Pen, $15.95 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0988-8

Clemens’s gently humorous fifth Grim Reaper mystery (after 2012’s Dying Echo) takes Casey Maldonado, who’s still haunted by the deaths of her husband and baby son, and her traveling companion, Death, an apparition with a penchant for old films and fancy costumes, to the small Idaho hamlet of Armstrong, “a strange town with dark undertones. Lots of old grudges, unsolved mysteries, and layers of resentment.” Still suffering from bruised ribs and a blossoming black eye from a recent dustup with some small-town thugs, Casey accepts the offer of a place to stay and some part-time work from Vern and Dottie, who own Armstrong’s general store and lunch counter. Soon she and Death, whom only she can see, are piecing together the reasons for a 45-year-old vendetta, which has soured local residents, as well as shining some light on more contemporary malevolence. Clemens draws the reader smoothly into this fantasy world while providing an original approach to the iconic figure of the Grim Reaper. (Aug.)