Veteran Neiderman (Angel of Mercy, 1994, etc.) tangles an inoffensive gravedigger in a web of accusations that spiral into murder.
Randy Quinn is a man of simple tastes. He’s never attended college, never left his upstate New York hometown and never—except for his continued, unrequited attraction to Evelyn Kitchen, his high-school crush—dreamed of a future more fulfilling than keeping Sandburg Cemetery in apple-pie order for his bosses, Jack Waller and Richard Valentine. His amatory interest in divorced waitress Scarlet Moore hardly rises to the status of romance. The biggest recent development in Randy’s life is the return of Barry Palmer, his best friend in school, from a disastrous marriage in the Southwest. During a night of decorous carousing, Randy offers Barry a job at the cemetery and then watches his life go up in flames. During a chance return to the office with Scarlet after their date the following night, he realizes that someone has disturbed the grave of Matthew Kitchen, whose son Stuart, Evelyn’s twin, insisted be buried with his expensive jewelry. Instead of calling police chief Lou Siegman, Randy, in the first of many remarkably stupid miscalculations, decides to dig up the grave with Scarlet’s help in order to see whether the old man is still attired in his finery. What he and Scarlet discover will make him think twice about having hired Barry—but not, evidently, about much else that he takes for granted but shouldn't.
A perfectly reasonable premise for a thriller undermined by a goodhearted hero too dumb to be true.