GRAVEYARD LOVE, by Scott Adlerberg (Broken River Books)
Kurt Morgan is a mid-thirties writer living in Upstate New York with his overbearing bohemian mother. After losing his job as a journalist, Kurt is making ends meet by ghostwriting his mother’s memoirs, which chronicle her vast sexual history; needless to say, Kurt is struggling with this project.
Mother’s house overlooks a cemetery. From a telescope in his bedroom, Kurt observes a frequent visitor to the boneyard, a beautiful redhead whose nightly vigils to one particular tomb piques Kurt’s curiosity and fires his imagination.
The lonely Kurt projects his fantasies onto the woman, Catherine, and what begins as a seemingly harmless crush – or so Kurt, our narrator, would have us believe – soon spirals into dangerous obsession, and murder.
To reveal too much of the plot would spoil the fun, for the joy of this book is the telling. Kurt is a classic ‘unreliable narrator,’ an engaging mix of Jim Thompson and Poe. His narration is quite insidious, as he matter-of-factly justifies his increasingly disturbed behaviour; to hear Kurt tell it, it’s quite reasonable to stun gun a woman, and abduct her to a tomb to confront her personal demons.
This creepy and compelling depiction of psychosexual obsession recalls filmmaker Brian De Palma’s early work: Body Double, Blow Out, Dressed to Kill. And of course, in Kurt’s relationship with his overbearing mother, we see shades of Bloch/Hitchcock’s Psycho. Often darkly humorous, events conspire to a bleak and bleakly funny ending that rivals the gut punch of Sluizer’s The Vanishing.
Graveyard Love is a perfectly paced potboiler with a terrifyingly ‘harmless’ protagonist, and just the right recipe of crime, mystery and psychological horror. Stalk it immediately! (Adam Howe)