Sunday, August 24, 2008

Alive in Necropolis

Alive in Necropolis, by Doug Dorst
$17.13 in the Hansisgreat Gift Shop
ISBN: 9781594489877
This first novel by a new author is an interesting mix of crime, drama, and supernatural suspense. It involves a young police officer and a teenage assault victim in Colma, California, a town noted for its unusual number of cemeteries.
Mike Mercer is twenty-nine when the story begins. He has a respectable job and a satisfying sex life, and seems to be settling comfortably into the routine of adult life. When he attends the funeral of a fellow police officer killed in the line of duty, and meets his widow, questions begin plaguing him about the nature of his coworker's murder and the town of Colma.
One of his first cases is the rescue of sixteen year-old Jude DiMaio, the son of a prominent film director, whom he finds tied up naked and drugged in one of the town's many cemeteries. When questioned, Jude refuses to say anything about how he got there. His parents shuffle him off to a rehab clinic, but Mercer suspects there's more to the boy's story than a simple case of youthful over-
indulgence.
Mercer's investigation into the two crimes soon brings him into a bizarre world of brutal murder and betrayal: in Colma, and from beyond the grave.
Much of the plot is devoted to the characters' personal lives, which often gives them added depth, but sometimes simply slows the story down. Mercer is dating an older woman named Fiona who has little to contribute besides being a sounding board for her boyfriend's musings. 
A bit more enjoyable is his police force partner, an outspoken cop-stereotype who emits a constant barrage of profanity filled diatribes which are cynical, but genuinely witty.
The supernatural element is blended fairly well into what is otherwise a fine tale of ordinary, earthly crime. The author even includes some crime reports, police documents relevant to the story which go one for several pages.
Overall, Alive in Necropolis is a thrilling diversion. A bit heavy on the personal drama, but otherwise quite imaginative and original. Fans of both crime and ghost stories should find this the perfect hybrid.

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