Book review: A Living Grave – Robert E. Dunn


With ‘A Living Grave’, Robert Dunn has introduced us to a strong female lead in (Hurricane) Katrina Williams, a Missouri detective investigating the brutal murder of a young girl. Williams has a lot of heavy baggage that she carries around with her. She spent ten years in the army before she left under a cloud of controversy after being brutally raped and beaten. No charges were ever pressed against her attackers and Williams still carries the scars, both mental and physical to this day.

‘A Living Grave’ isn’t the sort of book that I usually read, though thanks to Dunn’s excellent characterisation, I flew through this novel and became engrossed by the towns people. The beating heart of this book is obviously detective Williams, a volatile, insecure yet strong and independent woman, though other characters such as her love interest, Nelson are also engaging and realistic.

The first half of the book sees a lot of character development, and I didn’t mind this due to the originality of Williams and her dark past. This book is looking like a series (similar I suppose to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher), and so it’s important that we get a good sense of who she is and where she is from so that in future books there is a faster development of the plot. The investigation takes shape slowly and the appearance of an old army colleague further adds to Williams’ problems. The investigation into the young girls murder almost seems to take a back seat to the other problems that Williams is dealing with and I didn’t clock who committed the crime until everything came together at the end. I did manage to piece together quite early on the reason for major Reach hounding Williams and the mysterious absence of her father.

All said, ‘A Living Grave’ is a very different book for Robert E. Dunn and it is a very good one too. The pacing is really good, it never lags and for a novel in a genre I don’t often visit I really enjoyed the ride. I will definitely be looking out for more books in the Katrina Williams series though I do feel that the best is yet to come. A great thriller with a dark heart.

A Living Grave tour graphic.jpeg

Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #ALivingGrave

A Living Grave, Synopsis

  • Print Length: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Lyrical Underground
  • Publication Date: September 13, 2016


Katrina Williams left the Army ten years ago disillusioned and damaged. Now a sheriff’s detective at home in the Missouri Ozarks, Katrina is living her life one case at a time—between mandated therapy sessions—until she learns that she’s a suspect in a military investigation with ties to her painful past.

The disappearance of a local girl is far from the routine distraction, however. Brutally murdered, the girl’s corpse is found by a bootlegger whose information leads Katrina into a tangled web of teenagers, moonshiners, motorcycle clubs, and a fellow veteran battling illness and his own personal demons. Unraveling each thread will take time  Katrina might not have, as the Army investigator turns his searchlight on the devastating incident that ended her military career. Now Katrina will need to dig deep for the truth—before she’s found buried…


Robert Dunn was an Army brat born in Alabama and finally settled in Nixa, Missouri. A graduate of Drury College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications/Film he also earned a second major in Philosophy with a minor in Religion and carried an emphasis in Theatre. This course of study left him qualified only to be a televangelist.

An award-winning film/video producer and writer, he has written scripts for or directed every kind of production from local 30-second television commercial spots to documentary productions and travelogues.

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A writer of blognovels and contributor to various fiction websites his work has also included the book length prose poem, Uncle Sam, the collection of short stories, Motorman and Other Stories and novels Behind the Darkness  and The Red Highway.

Mr. Dunn now resides in Kansas City where he continues to write genre fiction and experiment with mixed media art projects using hand drawn and painted elements combined through digital paint and compositing.

Praise for Robert Dunn and A Living Grave

The Red Highway is not one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year, or that I’ve read in a long time…it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read!  It was an incredible read, one that has so many layers that I was completely enthralled with the story. 5+++ stars!”
-2 Book Lovers Reviews

“This is hardboiled fiction at its best. We’re talking Elmore Leonard territory. A fantastic read and I hope there’s more to come.”
–Hunter Shea, Author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon on A Living Grave

“Dunn’s lyrical descriptions of Katrina’s inner struggles and demons read almost like poetry as he weaves an intricate and deadly plot of motorcycle gangs, the MOB, cancer survival, and child abuse into a novel so rife with complex feelings and life-situations, you are compelled to read it slowly, so you don’t miss a nuance of the gut-wrenching emotions he elicits from his characters.”
– Peggy Jaeger, Author of The Voices of Angels

“Parts of this book moved me to tears while others made me want to cheer out loud at Katrina’s kick-ass-atitude. The twists and turns in the story kept me on the edge of my seat until the entirely satisfying ending. I’m so happy that this is just the start of what promises to be a totally addictive series! I highly recommend this phenomenal 5 star read.”
-Horror Maiden’s Book Reviews

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