by Dorian Box
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Pub Date 15 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2023
"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." — IndieReader (5 Stars, IR Seal of Approval)
New release from the author of the multi-award-winning Emily Calby Series.
SUMMER 2000. When down-and-out surfer and former lottery winner Danny Teakwell was framed for a grisly murder, he got help from a family of wacky morticians that included seven-year-old embalming expert Jessica Jewell (Psycho-Tropics). Five years later, the tables are turned when Jessica shows up, alone and desperate, seeking shelter. Her parents suddenly sold their family funeral home and vanished.
Danny’s not in a good place. Grieving the recent death of his wife and childhood sweetheart, he’s let life crumble. He reluctantly agrees to take the girl in for one night, but the willful twelve-year-old convinces him to join her investigation to find her parents and get back their funeral home. The trail leads 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.
"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.” — K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite (5-Star Seal)
“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. … Funeral Daze delivers an appealing spin on the mystery genre through rich characterization and an abundance of insight throughout.” — Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize
“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
"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." — IndieReader (5 Stars, IR Seal of Approval)
"A perfect beach read, this zany mystery has the thrills, quirky characters, juicy plot twists, and gripping conclusion you're looking for!" — Reedsy Discovery
“Funeral Daze is a macabre and hilarious novel that intersects the lives of several bizarre and oddly compelling characters. … Dorian Box masterfully directs the story into a series of unpredictable and uproarious events that are deliciously ironic, unexpectedly thought-provoking, and always edgy and dark.” — D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"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. … [A]n exceptional read." — Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite (5-Star Seal)
Average rating from 45 members
This book is both dark AND hilarious! Protagonist Danny won the lottery and squandered it all, his wife Sari died of breast cancer, and he now owns the Nine Lives Surf Shop. So when 12-year-old Jessica comes into his life after her parents' mysterious disappearance, he isn't sure what to do with the precocious girl as she grew up in the funeral home and understands embalming and other techniques that would render any other youngster a squeamish mess! Throw in mobsters, cocaine, and oddly stereotypical characters--that are not really stereotypes at all--and you have this slapstick comedy that delights and entertains while showing the big-hearted Danny and sweet Jessica overcoming incredible obstacles! I laughed so hard while reading this and will now read more of Box as it's quirky and absolutely unforgettable!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
This dark mystery was unlike anything I have previously read and I wish I could experience it again for the first time!
The book details former lottery winner and all-round ‘good-guy’ Danny, and his inadvertent guardianship of 12 year old Jessica. Jessica has grown up in the environment of her family’s funeral home, and her outlook upon the wider world comes with a morbid/dark insight which is innocently endearing (but may require warning to those not familiar with dark humour). When Jessica’s family and the family business is at risk at the hands of a ruthless mob, she turns to Danny following their previous meeting in the prequel to this book. The loveable duo in turn form a close bond with each other over a short time, and Jessica has a positive effect on Danny who has himself suffered a bereavement a year before.
Jessica fights for the rights to her family business and for justice in general under Danny’s supervision, and the pair also have the help of other hilarious characters with whom Danny has developed a relationship previously. Their battle for justice takes many exciting and laugh-out-loud twists along the way, whilst incorporating dark humour and the endearing relationship between the two main characters at every turn,
I could see this laugh-out-loud book translating well to the big screen, and I hope further there may be future instalments that see Danny and Jessica team up as the main duo yet again. This was my 49th book of the year and unexpectedly my favourite read thus far, I would recommend to all those who enjoy dark humour, mysterious adventures and unexpected twists.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Friction Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
When I saw Box had a new book set to release, that was Emily Caldwell adjacent, I raced to Netgalley, hoping beyond hope that it was there. This would have been a one-sit read except for the pesky aspect of needing sleep.
Picture a Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark sort of situation, where Sandor is the surfer, and Arya is a young girl whose life is wrapped up in her family's funeral home. He's still grieving after losing his wife; she's the odd girl out in every situation, yet a force to be reckoned with. He's had a rough go at life, and her life is about to take a dramatic turn. It's the perfect setup for a book.
Box writes strong, multi-dimensional characters. I enjoyed Danny and Jessica's banter and how they fed off each other. Fink drove me up the wall but had me laughing in the same breath.
Time and again, Box has proven he can write a tense thriller that is funny, dark, and completely endearing. It's the perfect combination of a smart storyline and characters that keep you reading well after bedtime. Fantastic!
So much thanks to NetGalley, Doran Box and Friction Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Writing this review, I find myself breaking out into a wide grin just remembering how much fun I had reading it....and how much it left me clamoring for more adventures for its lead characters.....
I could never imagine telling anyone that some book would make them laugh out loud and bring them to tears all the way through......sometimes simultaneously.
"Funeral Daze" did that for me.....all the way through. And I always considered myself a pretty tough audience for any author who tries that 'laughs 'n tears' double whammy on a reader.
How could I resist the oddest and yet most lovable combination of a Guardian-and-Child matchup......Florida surfer Danny Teakwell, a grieving widower at loose ends and Jessica Jewell, 12 year old precocious force-0f-nature and skilled in all mortuary arts and sciences from being raised in her family's funeral home.
They first came across each other in the author's 'Psycho-Tropics', when Jessica was seven and Danny, framed by a psychopath, stood accused of first degree murder.
Now it's Jessica who's in peril while her parents flee from cartel gangsters who threatened them and seized their funeral home. The cartel's master plan - stuff overweight corpses with cocaine packages for easier nationwide smuggling.
Now in hiding, Jessica's desperate parents ask Danny to look after their daughter, who's on an unstoppable quest to expose and thwart the cartel. This does not sit well, as you might guess with the cartel's brutal chief enforcer, who favors death to eliminate all obstacles.....including children.
Helping out this unlikely investigative duo (and jacking up the laugh-out-loud quota) is Fink , Danny's so-called lawyer. But then again, Fink, armed with an impossibly convoluted gift of gab, did manage to finesse a 'not guilty'" on Danny's murder charge before anyone found out Fink hadn't yet passed his Bar exam.
I would defy anybody to not fall in love with these characters.........as slowly and surely, the emotionally closed off Danny finds his heart warmed as he attempts caring for Jessica, whose take-no-prisoners invulnerability masks the sweet, aching heart of an outcast lonely child.
After finishing "Funeral Daze", I tried to remember the last time I encountered a book that actually delivered on its advertised promise to have you giggling while you shed a tear or two.
This one's the real deal....a genuine 5 star laugh-getter and tearjerker., and with thrills 'n chills thrown in. By far one of the most entertaining books of 2023.
I've got to be honest, when I first started reading this book, I wasn't too sure about it. It's slow start and quirky people had me shaking my head. BUT, then that weird little girl Jessica grabbed a hold of me and didn't let go !! The more the story went on the more I loved her. She was smart, loyal and could out maneuver any adult who tried to mess with her. You argue with her? The you lose, spectacularly! Didn't matter who you were, that wasn't going to intimidate her. It left me wanting to read more of her adventures when the story ended. I hope this will be a series.
Now on to the rest of my thoughts and this book. Danny, was a good guy who had basically checked out of life after his wife, Sari died. Jessica was right when she says, "Everyone loves Danny" and he doesn't realize how great he really is. It's really great how they begin to really connect and how they "got" each other. They make a really great team.
The emotions, the dangers, the plots against Jessica and Danny was SO well written that I enjoyed all of it. Especially when Jessica and Danny fight back. Well, to be accurate it was mainly clever Jessica fighting back the way she knew best. Jessica was also bold and fearless. Except for that one thing that she feared, drowning.
Excellent ending that left me wanting more.
“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Just wow!! I always go in to a book knowing very little, I had a vague idea and I honestly didn’t think it was going to be as good as it was. I love it when a book surprises you. From the first chapter to the last I was engaged the whole time. I read it in two sittings. It was a murder mystery unlike something I have ever read before. I am definitely going to be reading more by Dorian box.
Are you freaking kidding?! I was sent this as a widget and I am so upset with myself it took so long to get to. Dorian had me crying and laughing and riding the wave of emotions throughout this whole novel. I find myself needing to read Psycho Tropics after this. Danny was everything and Jessica is such an old soul. Excellent read.
This is the second book of a series, but stands on its own. It is at the same time a thriller novel, a novel involving relationships and grief, a murder mystery, with some hints of legal grit, surfing, and a cast of some very quirky characters, including:
• A surfer dude widower won the lottery and lost the millions he won – except for a run-down condo and a surf shop he’s stopped running.
• A 12 year old girl who plans to run her family’s funeral home, who has been embalming since she was 7, is not well liked because of her morbid interests. She has more insight and wisdom than most adults.
• Her murdered parents and grandfather.
• The surfer dude’s attorney friend, who has been practicing law without a license for years before law school or the Bar Exam.
• An organized crime boss, with plans to use the funeral industry to save money drug running.
• A hit man, who is insubordinate to his boss, and sees murder as the only way to solve any problem
• A corrupt FBI Agent.
• A woman surfing champion.
• A bar owner.
• Many bar patrons and employees.
Although this is a thriller, which includes drug criminals, murder, kidnapping, extortion, grave robbing, burglary, treachery, much of the story is about relationships of all sorts, but hardly focusing on the romantic ones. It's about regaining interest in life after a death. It’s about friendship and family, and how friendships can become almost family-like, and family relationships can all but cease. It’s about the trustworthiness of others, heroism, and betrayal. The book has a happy ending, which will not disappoint.
The plot was complex and was difficult to put down, yet left no room for confusion about how it all linked together. It makes me want to read the prequel and await a sequel!