I don’t watch a lot of horror movies, but I am familiar with the feeling that you know something that the protagonist doesn’t and the urge to yell “HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!” Josh Malerman’s Unbury Carol starts at this moment, and it’s a race to the finish from there.
Most of the books that I read are what I think many people would call character-driven. This book is 100% plot-driven and it was actually a breath of fresh air. You don’t need details about the characters or their backgrounds or what they look like or how old they are blah blah blah. You are given what you need to know and then all that matters is WHAT HAPPENS NEXT FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
Carol has a condition that causes her to fall into a two-day coma, and she appears dead to everyone that does not know about how her condition works. Her mother knew, she told an ex-lover who then ran away, and her current husband knows. Her best friend knew, but the book begins with his funeral, leaving only her husband left to know. The stress of her friend’s death sends her into an episode, and we discover that the husband is planning to use this to his advantage – claim she’s dead, and then claim her fortune. News of her “death” reaches her ex-lover, who knows the truth and sets off to save her from being buried alive. He is pursued by an assassin who has been hired by a witch who is working with the husband to gain Carol’s fortune.
All of this is wound so tightly and efficiently that you are strapped in from page one. You see the demons in the closet and you are powerless to stop them. You’re floating with Carol in her coma, able to see what happens around her but without the ability to change anything. There were a few chapters where I found myself holding my breath, dreading the next event, hoping everything would be okay. The ending was also strangely satisfying.
I read this book in less than 24 hours. I didn’t have a choice. The story had me by the balls and I had to go where it took me. Bravo. Go get you some.