Jefferson, the husband of Lincoln Perry’s former fiancé,
is found dead, after being tortured and killed, and Perry becomes a
prime suspect in the murder investigation. The day after
Jefferson’s burial, Perry receives a call from Karen
Jefferson, his former fiancé, who is now a wealthy widow.
Karen offers Perry an enormous fee to track down Alex’s
estranged son, Matthew. Karen wants to locate Matthew to let him
know about his father’s death and inform him that he is heir
to a multi-million dollar fortune.
Because of Perry's past relationship with Karen, and with the
police looking over his shoulder, Perry is hesitant to get
involved. But he remembers his affection for her and needs the
money to help pay for his partner’s medical expenses, so he
reluctantly accepts the case. Perry quickly pins down the likely
whereabouts of the missing heir, and he heads off from Cleveland
for Southern Indiana.
In the crisp autumn air amid fields of brightly colored trees, he
sees “crimson, orange, and burgundy splashes
everywhere…” and smells “…the rain and wood
smoke.” He locates a neighbor of the junior Jefferson, who
tells Perry that Matt runs an apple-picking crew and won’t
return to his apartment until after dark. Perry posts a brief on
Matt’s door telling him that he wants to talk about family
business and drives off.
While waiting for Matt to come home, Perry tours the countryside
and wonders what caused the once up-and-coming law school student
to leave prosperity behind to run an apple-harvesting operation in
rural Indiana. Later that evening, Perry returns to Matt’s
apartment, but the note is gone and no one answers after he pounds
on the door several times. However, in the gazebo out by the pond,
Perry sees a figure sitting “still as a
After a brief conversation with Matt comes to a deadly conclusion,
Perry once again is a suspect in a crime he did not commit.
Complicating matters, he is being followed and threatened by
unknown thugs. His pursuers demand he stop his investigation into
the death of the elder Jefferson, as well as his inquiries about a
five-year-old murder case.
A WELCOME GRAVE is much more than a well-written and suspenseful
mystery. It is a fictional snapshot depicting how law enforcement
and legal machines can be manipulated to favor the rich and
powerful at the expense of the poor and powerless --- and the
innocent. Michael Koryta has crafted an exciting novel with
carefully rendered characters, even secondary ones, who will remain
with the reader long after turning the last page.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 24, 2011