Friday, June 29, 2007


Jeff Strand is not a household name in the horror genre, but he should be. He has written a series of novels featuring a smart-ass protagonist named Andrew Mayhem. The first title in the series, Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary), is a wonderfully humorous interpretation of the horror novel.

The novel begins when Mayhem attempts to earn money—without getting a real job—to cover the expenses of a car accident he recently caused. It happened not too long after his auto insurance expired and he wants to keep it secret from his wife. A friend offers Mayhem a job videotaping her cheating husband. He likes the idea of playing private eye until he loses (it is smashed to bits) his wife’s video camera and gets beat-up.

The next week Mayhem and his best friend Roger are in a bar waxing melancholy over the injustices of life when they are approached by an attractive blonde. She hands them an envelope with five hundred dollars inside, just to hear her story. The money is theirs whether they help or not, but if they accept the job she promises another $20,000.

The deal is, they have to dig up her recently dead husband and find a key that was buried with him. Mayhem feels like a slug, but he needs the money too badly to turn it down. His brief foray into grave digging leads Andrew Mayhem into a maze of terror and death. He is caught in a game designed by a psychopath and everything he has, his family, his friends and his sanity, will be threatened before the final page is over.

Graverobbers Wanted is a humorous novel, but don’t mistake it for a silly one. The action sequences are wonderful, the suspense is harrowing and the plot is tight and full of surprises. The characters are well drawn and add to the depth of the novel. The only funny thing about the story is Andrew Mayhem’s place in it. He can’t have a conversation without letting some witty, mocking sarcasm (often self-deprecating) slip out, and he is perfectly set-up in Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) as a dupe and a very much abused—he gets beat-up routinely—hero.

This is a novel that should be at the top of every horror fans list of books to read. If you haven’t read this book yet, you should.

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