REVIEW by Kirsten Ross – Freelance Journalist
Traditional horror and detective genres collide in When Graveyards Yawn, the first novel from author G. Wells Taylor.
Taylor’s story takes place in a post-apocalyptic anytown, where chaos and violence are the norm, and force replaces civil or common law as a means to maintain order. With a twist straight from the book of Revelations, the dead have stepped from their graves and into a society that isn’t prepared for the influx. A worldwide miscarriage has ended the possibility of new births (human or animal), and the living are unable to die. Death by natural causes is a gift denied to the masses; it takes an act of extreme violence to end life in this particular world.
It makes sense that from this dismal soup emerges private detective Tommy Wildclown, a whiskey-swilling sleuth in perpetual clown face. Tommy is hired to solve a dead lawyer’s murder and in the process stumbles upon a conspiracy involving an assortment of undercover authority figures, corrupt businessmen and shallow opportunists. With his dead partner, Elmo, Tommy unearths a secret that could bankrupt a flourishing afterlife business and give the masses an alternative to their collective dismal existence.
Taylor’s mix of detective fiction and gothic horror and Biblical lore make this story engaging and fresh. When Graveyards Yawn is well paced, with incredibly vivid description and clever narrative. Taylor’s storytelling compels the reader to take part in the process. The action is well written, the dialogue realistic, and the detail so precise that every scent, every injury, becomes part of the reader’s existence.
There’s no risk of becoming mired and tired with dark, heavy detail. Taylor keeps the story enjoyable with keen wit and clever, creative metaphors.