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Stephen Stromp ‘In the Graveyard Antemortem’ Review


Written by: Myra Gabor

Not many of us would lick up the blood from the guy we’re interested in after his skateboarding accident. Lisa did and then had to run from the taunts of “Vampire Girl” and also from the realization that he didn’t like her in “that way”. She could taste his feelings. Never having had a reason to taste blood before, she didn’t know that she could do it. It’s the first time, but not the last and each time, the blood calls to her. Lisa feels that it’s natural and right when she’s doing it.

After the shock of finding her murdered father, her next shock is knowing that her older brother doesn’t want her living with him. She might be 18 years old in a few months, but she’s still a minor now, and so Child Protective Services has entered the picture and decided that Lisa has to go live with her father’s brother, an uncle she’s never met.

Uncle Clayton, according to his driver, is a man to be admired. He has built up Grand Hallow to be the death capital of Michigan, where the dead outnumber the living 3500 to 1. All done with a permanent staff of seven with various temps hired as needed. Imagine driving into a cemetery as big as a city. Tombstones and mausoleums as far as the eye can see. In the center, servicing all this, are as many buildings as a college campus. That’s what Lisa and was driven into. Even more unnerving was that her room was an uninviting tiled room with a bed inside. Right next to the morgue. With things that go bump in the night and strange faces at her window, Lisa has to find her courage and quickly.

She meets two little girls playing in the cemetery. We can guess who they are. No mystery there. Or, at least, we’re sure there’s no mystery there. The real mysteries should be: who murdered Lisa’s father, who is the strange man in the morgue at night and what is he doing with the dead bodies, why does her uncle insist that Lisa not leave the grounds, what’s with the barrels of blood and body parts in the morgue and who’s leaving the jars of blood for her to find?

As you can imagine in a story mostly set in a cemetery city, where the main character’s room is next to a morgue, there’s plenty of gore to wade through. There’s almost too much of it. There’s a limit to how much blood and body parts one can be exposed to before reaching saturation point and saying: “ho hum. Let’s move on”.

Lisa comes to know her family and their secrets. She also comes to know who her real friends are.  You know the old saying: you can choose your friends, not your family.

The book is well written and flows along well. There are no extraneous characters. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy book to write, but it is an easy read. As for the gore, a lot less would have gone a lot further and would also have shortened the book. Due to excessive repeating of blood and guts, I can’t give it a higher rating.

Pre-Order it here.

Rating: 4/5

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About The Overseer (1650 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

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