Charles Palliser, 1999, Washington Square Press
Palliser is an expert in creating gritty, dark, atmospheric tales loaded
with exquisite detail, and The Unburied is no exception. It comprises three interlocking murder stories, all seen from the perspective of one of the least admirable narrators in memory. In fact, the book is singularly lacking in sympathetic characters, and yet still manages to keep our interest.
A University Professor gets called to visit an old friend, many years after a spectacular betrayal. He makes the visit, and, while there, his friend tells him of one of the mysteries surrounding the place, and the tale of an unsolved murder. From there, we get caught up in a snarled web of Gothic intrigue.
With the sole exception of one conversation that seems inexplicably drawn from a modern book on emotional recovery, the entire book moves quickly, has an unrelentingly grim atmosphere, and is quite engaging.