Book Chat: Dead & Buried
Once a week I’ll be discussing a Book or Movie/TV Series I love. Or posting a submission from a reader/author about a movie or book in the horror or zombie genre. Sharing the love of a book or movie as if you were talking with a friend.
Mysterious, horrendous murders in a small town set the scene for a horror tale of mayhem and the undead.
Oldie but Goodie, 1980
He thought dead men told no tales…
The murders were bad enough but what Sheriff Dan Gillis couldn’t understand were the newcomers to Porter’s Bluff, and their eerie resemblance to people he had seen dead and buried.
He couldn’t tell Janet, because even his beautiful wife was acting strangely lately. Was he imagining things? Or was something evil preying on the sleepy town…
Dan Gillis is sheriff of the small New England town of Potter’s Bluff. In the book’s opening scene, a mob of people attack a visiting photographer by setting him on fire. This scene was quite sinister and chilling. The man survives and is taken to the local hospital, and then murdered by a mysterious redheaded woman in a nurse’s uniform.
More people are murdered by what appears to be the townspeople. Sheriff Gillis questions the mortician, Dobbs, to see if he can shed any light on the murders. Dobbs is a happy character, giving us the creeps by his attitude; the more horrific the death, the happier he is, giving him a better challenge in fixing the corpse up for viewing. Gillis becomes increasingly alarmed as more grisly deaths happen each day. We, the reader, see that each murder is photographed, before and after the killings.
Gillis accidentally hits someone with his squad car, but the victim gets up and runs away. The sheriff gets hit on the head by someone when he goes to investigate, and he swears there was a severed arm lying on the ground, but with his head being fuzzy, he wonders if he images it. He scrapes material off his grill to be tested, trusting only the local doctor to do so. The doctor’s results are puzzling; the human tissue sample has been dead approximately four months.
The Sheriff’s wife, Janet, is acting strange and he grows suspicious of her and of Dobbs. He runs a background check on the mortician and discovers he was dismissed as a pathologist years ago for conducting unauthorized autopsies in the county morgue.
Near the end, poor Dan is horrified to discover Janet is one of the undead, reanimated by Dobbs, who developed a secret formula for bringing the dead back to life. Of course we find out who is killing people and why, but I don’t want to give everything away.
Though the last scene was not unexpected, it was sad. I read this many years ago so I’d forgotten a lot of details, but I remembered enjoying the story very much. The reread was just as fun. Also, this was made into a movie by the creators of Alien first and then the book was written, but I never saw the movie.
My curiosity was piqued so I ordered from Amazon and watched it tonight (Jan 18). The movie & book closely followed each other. The movie had a few differences but they were small. There were several actors I recognized, including the actor who plays Freddy Krueger, though his part was small. I thought the movie was fine, although it would have been better if I saw it first. LOL. No surprises. As always I enjoyed the book better.