de Castrique, Mark - FINAL UNDERTAKING

FINAL UNDERTAKING (Police Proc-Barry Clayton-North Carolina-Cont) – Ex
de Castrique, Mark – 4th in series
Poisoned Pen Press, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 1590582292

First Sentence: “The banjo’s bigger than the picker.” Susan laughed and set up her folding chair at the edge of the curb.

Ex-policeman Barry Clayton gave up his badge and moved back to a small town in North Carolina to take over the running of the family funeral home from his Alzheimer stricken father. At the first summer street dance, an old man in a wheelchair suddenly pulls a gun and shoots Barry’s girlfriend Susan, his friend the Sheriff Tommy Lee and a young woman who was thrown in the gunman’s path by a man running to get away. When the girl dies and with Tommy Lee injured after killing the old man, Barry is deputized to find out who was the girl and why the old man wanted her partner dead.

Sometimes an author has a single book which becomes pivotal in the growth of a series. I believe this is such a book. de Castrique enables the reader to become part of this town and it’s residents; the role faith plays in some of their lives and a view of those who run family-owned funeral homes in a small town. Barry is a wonderful character who, in a climatic point, must choose between his job and his family. The book is wonderfully and emotionally written but never loses sight of it being an exciting, suspenseful mystery as well. If you’ve not yet discovered this series; do start at the beginning. You are in for a real treat.

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