SIR COFFIN GRAVES
Mill City Press (286 pp.)
$19.95 paperback, $9.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-63413-764-5; November 24, 2015
A seemingly ordinary young man finds himself at the center of some weird plots and counterplots.
Jacob “Jake” Davis, the 19-year-old main protagonist of Platz’s fiction debut, appears on the surface to be more or less unexceptional. He’s good-looking in a nondescript way, self-effacing to a fault, insecure around women, a good friend, and a hard, though indifferent worker. He toils as a salesman in a dead-end job at Phillip’s Furniture, and in his off time, he digs graves for his family’s funeral parlor business. He’s visited often by vivid, inexplicable dreams, but mostly his life as readers first encounter it looks normal. Several seemingly mundane factors combine to change that: his mysterious “nanny” Sylvana abruptly announces that after a lifetime of caring for him, she’s suddenly leaving; Harold, the hulking cemetery groundskeeper, seems to turn suddenly hostile; Jake’s weird dreams turn surreally much weirder; he and his friend Patrick find themselves in the middle of a bar fight that erupts out of nowhere; and Jill Stone, a local star TV news reporter, walks into the furniture store to make a purchase and sparks a romantic interest in Jake, whose dating life has previously been nonexistent. As these and other factors serve to first unbalance and then uproot Jake’s life, Platz deftly intersperses snippets of enigmatic narration into the account, tidbits that make it clear Jake has a strange and supernatural destiny about which he knows nothing but will soon start to learn. That this destiny is connected not only to Sylvana —who’s far more than she seems—but also to Jake’s distant and elusive father soon becomes obvious. The author quickly and sure-footedly weaves all these elements into a tale that never feels bogged down with exposition or heavy-handed proselytizing. While the dialogue throughout remains a bit stilted (even mundane Jake succumbs to a certain amount of histrionics as the story progresses), the novel offers vibrant imagery and excellent pacing. Platz has invented a very inviting world.
A lean and fast-paced supernatural adventure tale that should leave readers eager for more from this author.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744