When the worst happens, would you rise or fall… On the coast of Maine, a devastating death, a widow grappling with grief. Then, a second chance at life. This is Abby Tiernan’s story, a story of the heart. But in order to learn to live again, Abby must solve a troubling mystery. After the death of her beloved husband, Abby hits bottom—hard. Her flickering will to live reignites when she becomes a home funeral guide, teaching the bereaved the age-old tradition of after-death care for loved ones at home. But troublesome questions arise over the death of a woman whose home funeral Abby guided. Was the death really natural? The police chief refuses to investigate what appear to be unfounded concerns of a distraught relative. But members of the community mystified by home funerals target Abby as a suspect, and swirling rumors threaten to destroy her fledgling business and fragile spirit. Abby discovers a funeral home director and a caterer who bleed red ink when people choose home funerals, money-hungry motivation to set up Abby as a murderer. And what about the long-suffering husband? Was he ready to move on with his life before his wife was ready to die? To save her failing business, Abby—with the help of a widower detective she feels guiltily drawn to—must uncover the truth. As Abby unmasks the murderer, and the killer sets sights on her, Abby realizes there’s one thing she wants more than anything she’s ever wanted—to live.
August 15, 2017
Disappear Our Dead by Gin Mackey is a murder mystery tale that asks existential questions and presents themes of loss and perseverance. The main character, Abby, loses her husband and rather than let her grief consume her, begins a business as a home funeral guide, helping others who have lost loved ones arrange their final farewells. When a murder happens and Abby becomes a suspect, she must pull herself up by her bootstraps and solve the mystery and clear her name. While Disappear Our Dead is a murder mystery at heart, it’s also a book about bereavement and acceptance of the inevitable.
It’s easy to empathize with the character of Abby, and the resilient attitude she develops will have the reader rooting for her early on in the proceedings. The secondary and tertiary characters are fleshed out and interesting, particularly Brad, and like any good mystery novel the reader will develop suspicions early on. There is a large cast, and this is a complex tale, so this book is best-suited for an attentive reader. Mackey creates a puzzle that isn’t easily solved and accompanies it with heavy themes. Without giving too much away, the book delivers a surprising and satisfying ending while leaving the door open for further adventures for the characters.
Disappear Our Dead is well-written and well-edited, and the story moves along at a brisk pace. Mackey does a great job of keeping you engaged and dialogue between the characters is smart and at-times comical. This is a book with romance and intrigue and deep questions about the nature of mortality. It is a story about moving on from loss and developing a healthy relationship with one’s own past. Abby’s growth as a character will particularly inspire those who have similarly suffered, but I think there is something for every mystery fan to be found in her story. Disappear Our Dead is easily a 5-star read.