Can a haunted man help the dead find peace?
Markhat is a Finder, charged with the post-war task of tracking down sons and fathers gone suddenly missing when an outbreak of peace left the army abandoned where they stood. But now it’s ten years on after the war, and about all he’s finding is trouble.
This time, trouble comes in the form of a rich widow with a problem. Her dearly departed husband, Ebed Merlat, keeps ambling back from the grave for nocturnal visits. Markhat saw a lot during the war, but he’s never seen anyone, rich or poor, rise from the grave and go tromping around the landscape. But for the right price, he’s willing to look into it.
As a storm gathers and night falls, Markhat finds darker things than even murder lurk amid the shadows of House Merlat.
Markhat was returning from burying his old friend Sarge when Mama Hog asked him to help the rich Widow Merlat find out why her dead husband could not rest. Had he returned for her or was there another, more sinister reason, for his nocturnal visits? Was there really a ghost or was everyone seeing things? Markhat does not believe in revenants, but the Widow Merlat was convinced that she had seen her dead husband on several occasions and she was willing to pay a lot of money to find out the truth, so who was he to turn her down; after all, he was a Finder, wasn’t he?
When Markhat sees House Merlat on the Hill he realized what a gold mine this would be to someone who would benefit from driving the widow away – the house and grounds were worth a fortune but the bars on the windows were brand new, indicating that the widow feared for her life.
There were several suspects and Markhat has his work cut out to determine who hated her enough to frighten her away or even kill her. The adult children seemed likely candidates, but did they hate their mother or need money badly enough to kill?
This story is a mystery set in a fantasy world where trolls, ogres and every species known to man and beast co-exist. There is one thing that Frank Tuttle does exceedingly well – he creates a wonderful atmosphere in his books so that readers feel that they are actually living in his universe. This story is scary (to me anyway) when the ghost comes out to play and the author has the right ambiance and impeccable timing to deliver a wonderful experience.
Frank Tuttle’s prose in Dead Man’s Rain is exceptional, his characterizations are brilliant and I wondered why I had not discovered him a long time ago. The first person POV narration in the story let me see what Markhat saw and experienced, and gave the story a grim realism that only exceptional writers are able to achieve, and as this grisly and horrific tale unfolded I was drawn unwillingly into Markhat’s world.
This is not a romance but If you like an unusual mystery/adventure in a fantasy world with all the right touches, if a bit macabre, then Dead Man’s Rain is an excellent story that will entertain and scare you from the first few pages.