It’s October in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Richie Feehan was born and raised and has lived his whole life. He’s a part-time lobsterman and full-time painter who sells his art at galleries in Rockport and Newburyport. Between the two jobs he makes enough money to get by, living in an in-law apartment in the family home owned by his brother Jim. Jim runs Feehan & Sons Funeral Home, a business started by their grandfather in 1921.
All in all, despite the tension with his brother, and despite the grumbling of his friends, whose business has suffered because of a lengthy red tide and a spectacularly bad overall fishing season, Richie enjoys his life very much. He’s content, and believes that’s pretty much all a man can ask from his life.
That is, until a horrible mystery begins to unfold in Gloucester.
Out lobstering, Richie sees something nightmarish in the surf one day, catches a bare glimpse of it beneath the surface. He doesn’t dare speak of it for fear of what others might say-he doesn’t want to become the town crazy. But he’s having a hard time sleeping at night, and several days later, while out hauling in his traps for the winter, Richie finds one of them stuck on something. When he finally hauls it up, there’s a corpse attached, a corpse that has been eaten at by sea creatures, including something large . . . the corpse of Greta Wagner, a woman who had been waked at Feehan & Sons two weeks earlier and buried a couple of days later.
Someone stole her corpse from the ground.
And her grave won’t be the only one disturbed.