Here’s a weird book. Mortom by Erik Therme shows signs of promise, but I found it ultimately disappointing.
Andy Crowl is kind of obsessive-compulsive about puzzles. So he’s hopelessly hooked when his cousin Craig, whom he didn’t even know all that well, died and left him his house, complete with a mystery. The house, in a tiny town called Mortom, isn’t worth much, and it looks as if Craig’s debts and the house value will just about balance each other out.
But Craig leaves a clue behind – a gruesome one. Under the refrigerator Andy finds a decomposing rat, and in the rat’s mouth are a note and a locker key. This starts him on a quest for a series of obscure clues, impelled by his cousin’s promise that there’s a prize at the end – and a penalty if he should fail the test. Andy’s sister has come with him to help him close out the estate, but she isn’t enthusiastic about the treasure hunt.
I finished the book, so I’ll give it credit for keeping me interested. But overall I found it kind of disappointing. The plot is improbable, and the characters aren’t very well developed – their words and actions don’t always seem plausible. Andy is kind of a jerk, and doesn’t learn any lessons. And I found the final resolution, personally, unsatisfying.
I’ve read worse, and abandoned worse than that. But I don’t really recommend Mortom. Cautions for language.