I've read this author before. BIRD BOX blew me away, while GHASTLE AND YULE did nothing for me. I think Josh Malerman's short stories are great. I didn't know what to expect going into this one. I love a good western that spans genres. This novel touches on horror, fantasy, and steampunk. There is a lot to like and dislike about this novel, though.
UNBURY CAROL is a Sleeping Beauty type story set in the wild west. Carol has a rare condition that causes her to fall asleep for days without warning. There are only two people in the world who know about Carol's condition–her husband and her lost love. Her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and–when she lapses into another coma–plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her... alive. Carol's lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie, hears about the plot, and he's off to the races to save his lady.
Here's where it was supposed to get really good, but there's a problem. It never really got off to the races. James Moxie travels the Trail, going through towns and villages. I felt like the secondary characters were better than the main characters. The character building is good.
The first half of the book could have been edited to make the plot tighter. I put this book down twice due to repetition. To me, this is the editor's fault. There are phrases that could have stopped after the first couple of times it was said. It annoyed me a little bit. The dialogue is great when it isn't repetitious. The story was slow and trudged along when it should have raced. After all, there is a woman about to get buried alive.
The third act of the novel is the best part. The ending is pretty good. The map is a really cool addition that helped while reading this book. Josh Malerman doesn't write the same book twice. UNBURY CAROL is completely different than anything he's ever created. I applaud the author for going outside the box on this one. I think it would have worked better as a novella, though.
With that being said, you should give this one a read. I hope the author visits this world again in the future. I would like to know what you thought about this book, so feel free to comment on this post.