The Coffin Maker (The Coffin Series #1)
by Breeann Allison
Published May 1st 2018 by Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy / Romantic Cozy Mystery
In a Flutter: So fun!
Twenty-three-year-old Jesse Burns lives a tranquil life as the coffin maker in the enthusiastically eerie town of Gregor’s Hollow. Here, the By the Pricking of My Crumbs Bakery sells deep-fried candy corn year round, and manmade mist swirls through the streets every afternoon at three-thirty. As for the graveyard bells that chime at midnight, and the Victorian portrait that materializes in the hotel guest rooms? Well, no one can account for those but they still look impressive in the brochure.
Few in the town are admired more than the trustworthy, if reclusive, coffin maker. Praised for his intricate carvings and flamboyant artistry, Jesse creates his masterpieces in the workshop that belonged to his father, the previous coffin maker who vanished nine years ago.
Jesse’s isolated routine is disturbed when Death appears on his doorstep one October evening. Wearing a sharply pressed suit and a condescending smile, Death demands eight coffins by Halloween. Jesse is horrified to learn that the coffins are intended for Death’s next eight victims—all of them citizens of Gregor’s Hollow. In exchange for the eight coffins, Death will tell Jesse what happened to his father.
Despite striking the bargain and starting work on the coffins, Jesse vows to save the Eight. But investigating a mystery is challenging in Gregor’s Hollow, the third most-famous Halloween tourist town in America. Home to horror enthusiasts and gothic fanatics alike, the town boasts a daily carnival of macabre spectacles, complete with ghostly sound effects in the streets, slasher chase scenes in the alleys, and a John Carpenter Orchestra in the park. Distinguishing staged horror theatrics from genuinely suspicious activity is impossible enough on an average day. But with the holiday approaching, the tourist season has just begun, forcing Jesse to conduct his detective work amidst the increased chaos of Hitchcock festivals, Edgar Allan Poe pageants, and monster movie reenactments.
Together with an alluring and untrustworthy stranger, he seeks the answer he needs to thwart Death’s plan.
Worldbuilding: The Gregor’s Hollow, New England setting is a total killer. I loved it to bits! I mean, a Halloween-themed town – how exciting!
Characters: Jesse is a pretty remarkable character. At 23 he builds ornate coffins and is on his own. He’s appropriately dark and smart, also a reader so huzzah. I love his morbid view on some things and his caring nature when it came to his neighbors. He went through a lot too, poor guy.
Robin was an interesting addition, nicely layered and complex.
Now Death – he was beyond cool. Creepy and awesome.
In fact, the whole town was full of fab characters.
Plot: The story is so awesomely quirky. The two mysteries, of Jesse’s dad and the Monkey Man, were a great combo. I really enjoyed the pace of events and the atmosphere.
Writing: First person, present tense narrative, Jesse’s POV. Fabulous voice, darkish sense of humor – love it! Also, this is one of the most odd, charming, and exciting first chapters I’ve read recently.
Curb Appeal: Pretty cover, definitely hooking blurb – UF impulsive buy material galore.
I recommend The Coffin Maker to fans of quirky and original UF mysteries with a dash of romance and a lot of fun! This seems to me like a great new series, and I’m SO into it! <3