The Undertaker – Reviews 12/22/12
5 Stars! “Had not read anything by William Brown before, but because it looked interesting and FREE on my Kindle, I tried it. Except for some grammatical and spelling errors (what do you expect for free right)? This was a great book, most unusual story line, different!! A terrific story, great idea well set out and am enjoying it immensely. Will look out for more by William Brown in future.”
Ivor Cohen, Amazon Reviewer, 12/22/12
5-Stars! “Unexpected Charms! Wow! I read the Prologue and decided I wasn’t going to like this book. Then I read Chapter One and was hooked. I read Chapters Two and Three. I had to put it down and do other things, but took it up again at bedtime, waking in the morning to find I had left my light on and my Kindle still beside me.
You might be, like me, turned off by gangster land and torture chambers. And, like me, you’ll fall hopelessly in love with Peter Talbott, a computer dude working for Symbiotic Software in Boston, who gets mixed up with slime balls and scumbags because he still loves his wife Terri, who died young of cancer. Soon afterward, our hero reads his own obituary. It’s a case of mistaken identity and he thinks it is cleared up until he reads another obituary for the both of them, described as car accident victims. That’s when protecting Terri’s memory becomes his obsession and drives him to Columbus, Ohio, where he stumbles onto more fake deaths and a major mafia operation. He has to hitchhike to Chicago. From that point on, all modes of transportation come into play.
I especially liked the juxtaposition of familiar and weird details in the Chicago scenes. Imagine bringing an injured man to a cozy suburban house with a swing on the porch, geraniums, Spider-Man curtains in the kid’s room windows — and four Chinese men in surgical garb greet you in the alley. Brown’s originality peaks in his use of one of the most bizarre weapons you could imagine (‘bet you can’t). He writes a good romance, too, psychologically deep and yet amusing. The clever, kick-butt Sandy accompanies Pete all the way back to Boston, New York and D.C. They are constantly changing their disguises.
Brown has a crazy imagination, but there are enough references to familiar landmarks in these cities that you will go along with him as the plot races toward a deadline.
Karen J. Dahood, Amazon Reviewer 11/7/12 Done
5-Stars! I found the undertaker to be a fasted paced exciting thriller that keeps you turning the page.
David Donaghe, Goodreads Reviewer, 10/24/12
5-Stars! “Great read! This was a great book! It flowed nicely and I finished it over the weekend – something I rarely do. I’d recommend it to any thriller fan!
Shirley A. Lawson, Amazon Reviewer 9/6/12
5 Stars! “Exciting! This book was so enjoyable for a couple of reasons. First, growing up in Chicago I was familiar with streets, buildings etc. Second the fast pace excitement was just what I needed after reading a couple of dull, boring novels. Had this on my Kindle and took it with me for a doctor’s visit and for once was not in a hurry to get called into the office. Just when I thought I knew what the next move would be, William Brown proved he had other ideas. Great reading.
PatK, Amazon Reviewer 9/4/12 done
5-Stars! “Loved It! Okay, I admit, I wasn’t in love instantly, but once it happened – I was picking it up any chance I got. This was a Free List find, for me, but it would have been worth a purchase. Although, had I not seen it on the free list – I may never have found it. Not really in my area of enjoyment (pre reading). Can’t wait to read more by the author in the future.
Snookiesnooks, Amazon Reviewer 9/24/12
5-Stars! “Exciting Novel! This book was so enjoyable for a couple of reasons. First, growing up in Chicago I was familiar with streets, buildings etc. Second the fast pace excitement was just what I needed after reading a couple of dull, boring novels. Had this on my Kindle and took it with me for a doctor’s visit and for once was not in a hurry to get called into the office. Just when I thought I knew what the next move would be, William Brown proved he had other ideas. Great reading.
Pat K, Amazon Reviewer, 9/4/12
5-Stars! “Brown does an amazing job of creating characters who are real. The humor is incredible, and the murders most foul. The characters have flaws that make them very relatable, and the story itself is quite wicked and very believable. I would recommend it for those who love a thriller, with action and suspense. If you enjoy humor and smart thinking you will enjoy the repartee, it is lightning fast and exciting. This would be a great book for a book club; it is full of discussion items. While the humor keeps it a bit light, make no mistake, these killers are formidable and without merit. The coldness of their methods will give you chills long into the evening.”
Blogcritics/ Wrighton-Time 7/26/11
5-Stars! “Don’t miss reading this book … it has a little bit of everything … frightening scenes, clever twists and turns, love, and humor. I found myself laughing out loud, crying, and also being afraid for the characters. The book was action-packed and fun despite the tense moments. I am guessing the author is a fun guy with lots of adventures of his own. I truly enjoyed the book.
Meadowmist, Amazon Reviewer, 5/21/11 done
4-Stars! “This is an action packed thriller from the go! The characters are well thought out and realistic. The plot is twisty, intriguing and entertaining. The story is well written. The world is easy to believe and invest in. I’m always one to dive right into a thriller, but truly love the ones with political intrigue! I was on the edge of my seat while Pete attempts to outmaneuver the bad guys. This is a fantastic read, you don’t want to miss out on this one!!!
Dragon Library 8, 8/3/11
4-Stars! “What initially struck me about the book was the narration style. I loved it! One of the things that I greatly appreciated about Mr. Brown’s writing is that he makes his main character very likable, with the right amount of wits and brains to understand the situation. Instead of sitting back and letting fate have his way with him, Pete uses his brain and tries to fight back. The thriller aspects were superb.
Book Shelf Reviews 7/28/12
5-Stars! This is a fast paced awesome thriller. He is spot on with the mob action. I can’t wait for his next books to come out.
Tina S. Kerr, Amazon Reviewer, 8/10/12
5-Stars! “Great page turner. Kept me awake, and ended up being a quick read. Missed by bus stop and went 1/2 mile out of the way because I was too interested to look up.
Matt LaDuke, Goodreads Reviewer, 8/10/12 done
5-Stars! “Grabbed me! This book grabbed my attention right away! I just downloaded the book onto my Kindle and was up last night at 2:30 AM finishing it. Mr. Brown is a great story teller. His characters, Pete and Sandy, are very believable in what might be unbelievable situations. The plot takes the reader across several states and into situations you’re sure they can’t conquer. A great story!
GinnyReader, Amazon Reviewer, 8/8/12
3.5 Stars! “A Thrill of a Ride! The Undertaker was a fast paced read. If you like stories about government conspiracies with a dash of romance, this book is a quick and intriguing read. The concept of the novel was well thought out and well played throughout. Peter Talbott was a well developed character with a quirky (California style according to other characters in the book) sense of humor. Sandy Kasmarek was a great foil to Peter and their relationship didn’t feel forced to carry a story arc.
Simone, Better Read Than Dead, 8/1/12
5-Stars! “As intense as Stephen King! William Brown has the talent of Stephen King to develop well rounded characters we love and create tense situations that keep you on the edge of your seat. Combine that with a grieving character who is smart and has a sharp wit and you’ve got someone I’m interested in reading more about. All of the characters had depth and the situations took the reader on the fictional journey without feeling too unrealistic or ‘over the top’. Pete Talbott is shocked to see his name in an obituary and at first believes it’s a mistake. Then the identity theft is repeated and includes his already deceased wife, which pisses him off. Giving new meaning to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’, Pete decides to follow the ‘paper trail’ and ruffles the feathers of some very unsavory, but well connected, characters. If you love a gritty mystery with the flavor of a tense political thriller you want to read this book! I definitely must find time to squeeze in his next novel. On a personal note, I loved the scene in Indiana since I lived there for about ten years.”
Chrissey McVay 5/30/12
4-Stars! There is a fine line between something being so farfetched it is simply ludicrous and something being so farfetched that it’s utterly compelling in a ‘But what if that really were to happen?!’ way. When you have a story that begins with a – noticeably living! – man reading his own obituary, it could go either way. Peter Talbott is aware of the obituary – there’s a reason he was presumed dead and buried. What he doesn’t expect is to be presented with an obituary for his wife, detailing her death in a car accident when he knows that she died from something completely different. When a little research uncovers several similar obituaries all linked by the same funeral home director, Peter Talbott just can’t let it go, even though the consequences could change – or end – his life. As with many masters of the thriller genre, Brown (no relation!) has taken an unusual and far-reaching premise and twisted it into an adept thriller. Yes, there are elements ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous but instead of being dragged under by these elements, The Undertaker seems to use them to simply propel the story further.
The true mastery of The Undertaker lies in the two central characters, Pete and Sandy. A grieving computer programmer and his quirky sort-of-but not-quite girlfriend may not seem like the most obvious heroes. Indeed Brown writes them up as ordinary characters, thrown into an extraordinary world and yet still managing to remain ordinary and, at times, almost comically banal. They gripe and bicker one minute, yet get caught up in the tension of sexual chemistry the next. It should make you wring your hands and say ‘For goodness sake – your lives are at risk’. Instead, these characters feel very real, very human and are very very funny. This is a thriller – it shouldn’t be full of smiles and quirks – but it is and it works. If you’re a fan of thrillers, it’s definitely worth giving this one a try. The unexpected smiles and twists of humour are an added – and welcome – bonus.
Donna at Book Bags and Catnaps 2/21/12
5-Stars! What happens when you read your own obituary, along with your previously deceased wife’s, in this morning’s local newspaper? Do you leave everything alone or dig up the truth – no matter the cost? Pete Talbott’s got his work cut out for him to figure out the truth. Now he’s on the run as he tries to stay steps ahead of the villains. He feels he can trust no one but Sandy, the ex-wife of one of the other victims. Fast paced and action-packed, The Undertaker will keep you glued to your seat. The protagonists use their brains to keep a step ahead instead of being the brawny types, they are resourceful and intelligent. Mr. Brown has created a believable plot which will make you think twice. A confirmation to many conspiracy theorists and a wonderful action-filled thriller.
The Bibliographic Book Blog - 2/20/11
5-Stars! This book was captivating from start to finish. Could not put it down. There were no slow parts and the ending was quite a surprise. I must say the author has quite a knowledge of numerous parts of this country in great detail. A must read for people that enjoy thrillers.
Dr. Marc Hudes – 2/10/12
5-Stars! Louisa Parsmarkt – Goodreads -1/8/11
“Wow! What an action-packed adventure! Lots of running, avoiding, and clever tricks! Loved it!
4-Stars! Gary Showalter - 1/4/12
I just finished “The Undertaker” by William Brown, and as with any well-written tale, I was sorry to have it come to an end. Brown has an excellent grasp of characterization, and he’s no slouch at setting up scenes. The Undertaker is written in true ‘roller-coaster’ fashion, with lots of fast-paced action and just enough slow spots to allow the reader to catch his breath before the author sends the story careening downhill like a runaway juggernaut.
Dashile Hammett, one of the truly great American mystery writers, once said that people want to read about people, and Brown follows that dictum to the letter. His characters quickly reveal themselves as individuals you care for and about. Brown avoids the trap of ‘character clutter’ which allows the reader to become involved in lives and concerns of the characters he does introduce.
I look forward to reading more from this author.
4-Stars! Monica Wyant, Crazy 4 Books – 12/24
“Couldn’t put it down!! I want to thank Mr. William Brown for giving me the opportunity to read his newest suspense novel The Undertaker. I will be looking at more works written by William Brown.
The Undertaker is a suspenseful on the edge of your seat novel. I found myself reading whenever I had a free moment. When I was at a red light I had my phone out and was reading The Undertaker while I waited for the green light. I think you can say I was hooked from the beginning.
Peter Talbott is a man who was married to Terri. Peter became a widower when his wife Terri became ill and died. Terri’s death hit Peter hard and he hit rock bottom. His friends thought he died in a car crash in Mexico.
Peter is brought into trouble when a guy named Gino shows Peter his obituary and his wife’s from an Ohio newspaper. Peter is very much alive and wants to know why someone is impersonating him and his dead wife.
Mr. Brown does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing as to who is really the good guy until the very end. He keeps your eyes glued to the pages and your heart racing till the climatic end.
5- Stars! Melissa, Spellbound by Books - 12/24
“Fantastic read! It took me a little while to get to reading this, and I’m kicking myself it took me so long! The Undertaker is not what I expected at all. It was so much more.
Chapter one starts off with a bang! It hooked me line and sinker! Well really, I was eager to read more after the prologue, but the very first lines of Chapter one introduces Pete Talbot, a Systems engineer and he’s in a bit of a predicament being at the end of Gino’s .45 automatic. My curiosity peaks even more when he’s shown his own obituary. I must admit, Pete keeps his cool considering the circumstances and manages to throw in a few funny lines in that first chapter and I was immediately warming to his sense of humour.
The storyline is by no means slow either. Talbot doesn’t waste any time getting deeper into the mysterious obituaries and even more questions pop up. I was constantly surprised with the turn of events that take place throughout the story and the deeper Talbot gets, the more I was cheering for him.
As far as characters go, I think William F. Brown has done a wonderful job at creating fantastic well liked characters. I found Talbot and Sandy so witty with their friendly banter and flirting and I hope I get to read more about these two in the future. I was even quite surprised with the “bad guys”. They were actually quite likeable,.up until the end lol. But quite understandable if you’ve read it
If you’re looking for a suspense filled mystery with quirky characters and an engaging plot this one is for you. I highly recommend this!
5-Stars! Martha Cheeves, A Book and a Dish - 12/23
According to the papers, Pete Talbott was dead. He and his wife had both died in a car accident. But…Pete was very much alive and living in Boston. His death wouldn’t have bothered him that much if whoever was responsible for this notice hadn’t brought his wife Terri into the picture. Terri had died of cancer and this funeral notice was nothing but a lack of respect to her making him determined to get to the bottom of both notices. He would also have never learned of his own death had it not been for the big, burly man named Gino sitting next to him with a gun pointed at his head. He would also have never met Sandy whose husband had died a year before but apparently had just died again. Confusing? Imagine what they felt as they uncovered several deaths that had taken place at least twice.
Racing around the states, being chased by the very people who are supposed to protect them, Pete and Sandy find themselves being blamed for not only murders of innocent people but also those committed by the mob. As the puzzle starts to become clear, Pete and Sandy begin to understand why people are ‘dying’ twice. They also begin to understand who is behind this and why as they discover how high up the ladder the arm of ‘un’justice really reaches.
Have you ever read a book that keeps going and going and you see yourself running out of pages with no possibility of a ‘happy ever after’ ending? That is what I was facing with The Undertaker. As the pages ran out I could see no possible way for Pete and Sandy to escape cliff-hanger after cliffhanger. Could this be one of those books that simply don’t end with a smile. You’ll have3 to read The Undertaker and find out for yourself. I truly enjoyed sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the ending.
5-Stars! Molly Edwards, Reviews by Molly - 11/22/11
“Un-Put-Down-Able GREATASTIC-ness!! William Brown is one of my new favorite suspense thriller authors! Yep. That’s right. I am now happy to say that Mr. Brown is among the authors that instantly suck me into a story that takes me on a fast paced, chills and thrills roller coaster ride. And, his characters totally ROCK!
Pete Talbot. Wow. What a character. He just lost his wife and is still getting over the fact she’s not there anymore. So, what happens when he’s minding his own business, and then all of a sudden, his forced to look at his wife’s obit…printed in the CURRENT paper? But, worse….what’s he to do when he finds HIS obit next to hers? This plot line, and Pete’s character, were both absolutely FANTABULOUS! I can’t imagine what I would have done if I had seen MY obit! I’d have passed out, I’m sure.
So, now Pete is on a serious hunt to find out WHY his obit is in the paper, and why someone would dishonor his wife. As he digs deeper to get to the truth, he meets another who’s the victim of a phony obit: Sandy Kasmarek. She adds the PERFECT amount of sassy-ness to this already rocking good suspense novel! She’s a witty character who Pete can’t seem to get away from…even if he tried. She’s determined to make him see her as more than just a means to finding the truth! But, will Pete be able to leave his wife’s memory behind, and move on to a sassy, witty new woman? And will he find out the truth before he attends his own funeral for real….INSIDE the pinebox?
Watching Pete and Sandy, well, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to put this book down. The chases, the mafia, the FBI….all of it made this novel into an un-put-down-able novel that I will be reading again and again. The fact that when I sat down to read it, I had it finished in literally one day, well, that should tell you how rockin’ good this greatastic novel is! DEFINITELY a 5 Book worthy thrilling suspense read and I highly suggest you get this for yourself, or any other suspense lover you know! I can’t wait to go back and read more of Mr. Brown’s work.”
4-Stars – Debby Martin, Two Ends of the Pen – 11/6/11
Peter Talbott is a systems engineer living inBoston. He is still grieving over his wife, Terri, who died a year ago of cancer. When a hit man surprises him in his car and shows him an obituary for both he and Terri, his anger spins out of control. How dare anyone disrespect the memory of his wife, never mind the fact, that he isn’t dead. He goes toColumbus,Ohioto attend the bogus funeral and finds himself in the middle of a sinister plot involving an undertaker, the local sheriff and a high-powered lawyer. Instead of walking away and returning to his ho-hum life inBoston, Peter keeps digging around for more information. The more he digs, the more he uncovers and now his life is truly in danger. He races to piece the clues together and uncover the truth. If he doesn’t do it fast, he’ll be the next victim on the embalming table.
This is a fast-paced, action-packed story that doesn’t let you catch your breath even for a moment. Just when you think the main character is safe, the author throws something else into the mix and the race is on again. The characters are well fleshed out and the descriptions of the cities make you feel like you’re actually there running through the streets with Peter and his romantic interest,Sandy. I especially liked the Boston scenes although there isn’t any elevated freeway anymore near the North End.
I read this book in 2 sittings. It could be excellent with the eyes of a good editor. I found a fair number of typos and felt like the dialogue could be crisper in some parts, especially the middle of the book. Some of the dialogue bogs down the action too much. I also thought that the petite 5’ tallSandywas a little unbelievable taking down the bad guys with her karate kicks. All in all though, this was a very good page-turner. If you like a lot of action, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. Recommended.
5-Stars! Red Adept Reviews 10/27/11.
Plot/Storyline: 5 stars What would you do if you read obituaries for you and your spouse in the newspaper? If you’re Peter Talbott, you would go to your own funeral, of course. Little did Peter know that that act of satisfying his curiosity would lead to a terrifying cross country chase with people trying to kill him everywhere he went.
The Undertaker, like most good suspense thrillers, hooked me on page one. And that was where the character known as the Undertaker was introduced to the reader in one of the most chilling opening scenes that I’ve read in a while.
I’ve read a number of action thrillers that were first rate until they ended with a disappointing climax—it was either too easy to see where the story was going, or the climax was too convenient or too contrived. But I enjoyed the climax of The Undertaker. It caught me almost completely off guard, and it was a satisfying end to the build-up of the story. Granted, the revealing of one character’s true identity was somewhat improbable, but this was fiction, after all, and it did make for a great story.
One of my favorite big-name authors is Nelson DeMille, who is a master at ramping up the tension to gut-wrenching levels. In my opinion, William F. Brown is very nearly in the same league with DeMille for writing taut, suspenseful scenes.
Character Development: 5 stars The story was narrated in the first person by Peter Talbott, a software engineer who had recently lost his beloved wife and soul mate Terri to cancer. Talbott was a smart, likeable character. Still in mourning for his deceased wife, he was trying to get on with his life, but with little success. Everything changed, however, when he met Sandy Kasmarek, a sassy lady whose no-good, cheating husband had been murdered. Although the two had absolutely nothing in common, the chemistry was there, and with Peter’s dry wit and sarcasm and Sandy’s tough cynicism, it was fun watching the sparks fly as an unlikely romance blossomed amid the chaos and carnage of the pair’s desperate flight from the people who wanted them dead.
Peter and Sandy were the good guys. There were plenty of bad guys—frighteningly evil and absolutely ruthless—but it wasn’t always obvious which side of the law some characters were on until the dramatic climax.
In my mind, I kept visualizing younger versions of Harrison Ford and Holly Hunter playing Peter and Sandy. And yes, The Undertaker would make a great movie.
Writing style: 5 stars The Undertaker was a near-perfect combination of suspenseful action and colorful, often witty dialogue. The descriptions of the various locations and people encountered by the on-the-run Peter and Sandy were vivid and realistic.
I noticed a number of punctuation and spelling errors in the version submitted for review, but they weren’t frequent enough to distract from the writing.
5-Stars! Duffbert’s Random Musings 10/23/11
“One of the most entertaining novels I’ve read this year… This one was a lot of fun to read. I hated when I had to recharge my iPad before going further. Brown wrote a fast-paced thriller that pits a ordinary systems engineer against the mob, corrupt government officials, a deranged doctor, and a few other characters along the way. The premise was interesting, and Brown’s characters made this a joy to read.
Pete Talbott is going about life, minding his own business and trying to get over the loss of his wife during a trip to Mexico. Things change when a hit man shows up trying to find out why he’s alive when his obituary shows him as dead. Talbot can let that go, but what he can’t forgive is the matching obituary for his wife. No one is allowed to mess with his wife’s memory like that. Contrary to the advice of the guy with the gun, Talbott starts digging into the obituary mix up. What he finds is that he and his wife are not the only ones who have spurious obits, and all the notices have the same person signing off on the death notices. The fact that Talbott is still alive is not good news to certain people, and his digging only makes it worse. He has to figure out why he was “dead”, what he might have or know that makes other want to make him really dead, and who he can trust in order to call off the dogs so he can go back to his old life.
Far and away, the strength of this book are the characters and dialogue. Talbott is a great mix of courage, stubbornness, improvisation, and cluelessness with an undercurrent of pain and baggage under the surface. His nemesis, Tinkerton, is truly evil and has tentacles all over the place. Talbott has to be quick to stay one step ahead of him. And then there’s Sandy Kasmarek… She’s pulled into the story when Talbott shows up unexpectedly to get some information on her ex-husband who was one of the phony obits, and she quickly becomes yet another loose end that needs to be “tied up.” She’s sexy, complex, crazy, and has even more baggage than Talbott. The more he tries to push her away for her own good, the closer she gets, and she wants much more than Talbott is emotionally ready to give. The action is tight, the dialogue is funny and real, and I couldn’t help but care deeply about what happened to them.
The Undertaker is well worth downloading to your Kindle (or Kindle app). Once you do, block out some time and settle in for some excellent entertainment. This ended up being one of my favorite recreational reads this year.