The Mortician by Mordecai Taylor is a Kindle Single that I read through the Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription plan. I am usually attracted to dark subjects. What could be darker than a mortician? I also liked the author’s name; it seems to fit the dark subject. Does anyone want to bet this might be a pen name? And there is a nice first line “The scalpels sparkled mischievously on the table.”
Wyatt worked in a mortuary and things were getting busier than usual. The last three folks He had had to examine all came from the homeless population. They had died of ruptured abdomens; all corpses had secreted some type of a white gas when Wyatt had cut them open. First was John Doe, a usual name for one of the homeless. The second man was homeless but went by Cowboy Jones. That was the name given by Megan, a female witness that accompanied the body to the morgue. The third victim was Megan.
Wyatt was fascinated by the similarity of all three deaths. In his off-duty time, he read books about serial killers; he thought the similar looked like the beginning of a serial killing spree. Determined to find out the reason for all the deaths, Wyatt camped out at a popular spot for the homeless population. When an additional death occurred, he noticed that the dead man was holding a thermos of the type delivered by a church charity group as they provided soup and blankets to the homeless.
After tracking down the suppliers of the thermos, Wyatt was led to the rather startling conclusion; he could solve the case. But for me to write it would be a spoiler so, no, you should read it for yourself. It is a short story.
And there was another surprise for me. I make notes and highlight items so I can write a review soon after reading. With this short story, however, there was an additional bonus story. The same story as in a previous review I posted for Forsaken by Patrick Best. So, my question about whether Mordecai Taylor was a pen name was answered.
My review of the second story (second in both Forsaken and The Mortician) is repeated here.
Frankie lives with her father and she is not happy about it. They live in one of the most decrepit trailers in the Par. Her main job seems to be running, literally, to a nearby convenience store to buy beer for Dad. Today is different. She has heard that a circus had come to this very small rural town in Georgia and she intended to see it. There was no sense in asking permission; she sneaked away from the trailer to see it.
Unfortunately, the circus was not yet open for business. Frankie met an Indian, a Cheyenne named Teddy, who empathized with Frankie over the terrible life some were forced to live under oppression by those with power. In Frankie’s case, this was her father. Teddy claimed that he could give Frankie a tattoo that would protect her from further harm. On returning home, her father forced her to accompany him to a neighboring trailer where Frankie was to apologize for some imagined insult to the mother of two boys who had been tormenting Frankie.
But Frankie had some new powers and the story was going to turn out in a surprising way for Frankie and readers.