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Graveminder, By Melissa Marr

Putting flesh on the bones of a zombie universe

This novel – the teen fiction author Melissa Marr's first for adult readers – is set in Claysville, a small American town that, as one character puts it, is "unique in the way it mourns its dead". I'll say.

Unless arcane burial rites are observed, Claysville's corpses revivify and start hunting for prey; it falls to "the Graveminder", a sort of zombie whisperer, to persuade them to return to the underworld.

The book seems intended to be the first in a series, and much space is taken up in explaining the rules of its complex fantasy setting. Now that all the exposition is out of the way, future instalments may well be more dramatic, but sadly this opening volume is a little, well, lifeless.