Summer 2000. A down-and-out surfer grieving the recent death his wife reluctantly agrees to help a 12-year-old mortician find her missing parents and reclaim their family funeral home. Their investigation leads deep into a ghastly criminal conspiracy of corpses, caskets, and killers. As the bond between the unlikely pair grows, it becomes unclear who’s saving who and which one is really running the show. Hilarious and heartwarming mystery and suspense with a walloping conclusion, Dorian Box brings his unique blend of darkness and light to life in this zany joyride through the Sunshine State.
Plot/Idea: This amusing plot, following surfer Danny as he navigates the death of his wife, is punctuated with humor as well as intrigue. The story unfolds at a crisp and steady pace, with plenty of thought-provoking moments once 12-year-old Jessica enters the scene, offering Danny surprisingly mature reflections on tragedy and a knockout mystery to occupy his time.
Prose: The author is obviously capable and entertaining, with a relaxed style that readers will find inviting. The prose flows naturally and never seems forced, and the author capably balances description and narrative throughout.
Originality: Funeral Daze delivers an appealing spin on the mystery genre through rich characterization and an abundance of insight throughout.
Character/Execution: The author excels at character development, particularly with Danny, the delightful Jessica, and rough-around-the edges Fink. All are well-defined, memorable, and easy to like.
Date Submitted: May 15, 2023
“What’s worse? Being targeted by the ‘sicarios’ of an international cartel, or being targeted by a shark in open water? I am not sure but one thing I am sure of is that I chased the plot of Funeral Daze by Dorian Box all the way to the end and had a blast reading it. Box balances some incredibly heavy themes, such as loss, grief, child displacement, and incredible physical and emotional trauma with moments of genuine levity that come in the form of intelligent humor. The writing is more often brilliant than not … [A]n exceptional read.”
“A hilarious page-turner that effortlessly blends crime, humor and South Florida beach culture. … Award-winning author Dorian Box (Psycho Tropics, The Hiding Girl) has always employed brilliant doses of well-timed levity in crime fiction, but he pulls out all the stops for this laugh-out-loud caper." — BestThrillers.com
“The plot is fast-moving, full of bizarre twists and turns, without slowing or becoming dull even for a moment. Box does an excellent job of balancing humor with pathos, using the laughter to heighten rather than detract from the genuine heart at the center of this story. Jessica is a brilliant character … Funeral Daze manages to be laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarmingly tender, and full of lively action and suspense, all at once – a thoroughly entertaining and engaging read.”
“Author Box has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel that gives a fresh coat of paint to the ‘unlikely duo’ trope … I always enjoy tales with precocious children in them, and Box’s knack for dialogue really sparks with Jessica, offering real laugh-out-loud moments despite the dark and deadly lacing of mortuary humor that runs throughout the novel … Danny’s emotional journey is also a great triumph in terms of its pacing and intimate portrayal. … Funeral Daze is a novel that takes both light and dark elements to present a fantastically engaging, emotionally resonant story in a deeply humorous and satirical fashion. Unmissable reading.”
“A perfect beach read, this zany mystery has the thrills, quirky characters, juicy plot twists, and gripping conclusion you're looking for!”