The disorganised private life of Nathan, luckless protagonist of Burial
by Neil Cross, is not one that most of us would aspire to. Nathan, one of life's under-achievers, is chafing in a radio journalism job, and is stuck in a relationship that has run its course – mainly because of his own lack of drive and focus. He reluctantly goes to a party along with his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend; the host is his boss, an unpleasant right-wing radio host. Nathan shares some drugs with the slightly creepy Bob, a journalist who is given to some flaky beliefs in the supernatural. Both men encounter the equally stoned (and irresponsible) Elise, and all three participate in some sordid sex in a parked car. To Nathan's horror, the mini-orgy results in Elise's death (Bob was the last person to be alone with her). Nathan, much against his better judgement, is persuaded to dispose of Elise's body, and her death ends up in the 'unsolved' files of police registers. Time passes, and Nathan is racked with guilt. Then Bob makes an unwelcome reappearance and informs him that the woods in which they buried Elise are to be dug up for a social housing project. Nathan's life is soon in a desperately downward spiral. Burial
, like earlier Neil Cross books such as Holloway Falls
, is perfectly calculated to keep the reader on tenterhooks -- in all kinds of ways. When Nathan becomes friendly with the uncomprehending sister of the dead Elise and initiates a relationship, we are simultaneously pained at the deception – and worried for the screwed-up protagonist. As events move towards a grim and jaw-dropping climax, it's clear that once again Neil Cross has demonstrated he is the master of the uncomfortable, worrying suspense narrative. Burial
is a queasy – but undeniably compulsive – read. --Barry Forshaw
About the Author
Neil Cross is the author of CHRISTENDOM, MR IN-BETWEEN, HOLLOWAY FALLS and ALWAYS THE SUN. He lives with his wife and two children.