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Walnut Springs Press
"The Secret Obituary Writer" is by Amy Martinsen.

"THE SECRET OBITUARY WRITER," by Amy Martinsen, Walnut Springs Press, $16.99, 190 pages (f)

"The Secret Obituary Writer" is a humorous, quick read with memorable characters. LDS author Amy Martinsen shares the story of Lizzy Langston, a 20-something college student who makes ends meet by working as a secret obituary writer for a paper in a small town in Montana.

Obituaries are usually used to honor the departed. However, sometimes there is more to say or secrets to tell. Stories are submitted to Lizzy via an anonymous email address. Then, the secret obituaries are printed out and inserted between sections A and B in the newspaper.

When a member of the community is found dead, things begin to get strange. Lizzy receives multiple emails claiming the man did not die near his tractor as reported. With the help of her boss, Lizzy is put into contact with Detective Jackson Clark. Together they investigate the mysterious emails, which eventually bring them to Germany. As the team gets closer to solving the mystery, they also get closer to becoming a couple.

Whimsical obituaries are woven throughout the novel, connecting the reader to the community and to the central idea that it is a person's experiences in life that help define him or her.

Lizzy and Jackson are devoted Christians, and a few minor characters are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Some of the deceased community members are trouble makers and rabble-rousers. There is light sexual innuendo and implied nudity, which is played for humor, but the described romance doesn't go beyond modest kissing scenes. There is no foul language, but there is some generally described violence.

Martinsen, who lives in Arizona, is a graduate of Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. Martinsen is also the author of “Changing Worlds.”

Christie Betzer can be contacted at betzerc@gmail.com.