Thursday, August 7, 2008

To Bury the Dead by Craig Spector

Craig Spector, author of To Bury the Dead, is a talented and creative writer.

In this book about an EMT gone crazy when his daughter is brutally murdered, details abound such as the autopsy report:
Scalp contusion. Linear comminuted fracture of the right side of the skull. Linear patern of contusions of right cerebral hemisphere. Sebarachnoid [sic] and subdural hemorrhage.
and an EMT incident report:
They shocked him twice and bagged him, performed CPR and hit him up with Lidocaine to stave off any premature ventricular contractions that might pitch him back into V-fib.
The brutality of murder, betrayal, deceit, and revenge is punctuated with humor, such as the obese victim who couldn't find her asthma inhaler until it popped out from a roll of fat - trust me, it was humorous on the first reading. The narrative is also lightened with interesting metaphors, such as describing a remodel of the police station as:
Making everyone who worked there feel like something in a Kafka science project.
In the end, this study of crime and punishment, pits a dedicated fireman against a high school loner. Though this story has been done before (The original Crime and Punishment), To Bury the Dead manages to add a few twists, such as the teenage loner:
... had no computer at home ... no visible video game addiction ... not even a black trench coat to telegraph troubled teen to the masses.
In the end, the the plot performs a few cartwheels and redeems the protagonists and the novel from the brutality of the world so lovingly detailed along the way.

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