Review of "Coffin Humor" by John Brinling

Noah awoke in a casket.
The casket was on display in a funeral parlor.
He awoke several times more in the same casket and each time had a conversation with the funeral services practitioner, a strange man named Jeremy Black.
During these exchanges, he became aware that his memory was seriously impaired.
Each time, however, he learned a little bit more about his past through a reliving of the last desperate few days.
He also learned that the recovery of his memory would lead to his death.
Problem was: It might already be too late.

As I read this story it reminded me a little of a compressed version of the 1985 movie Clue, what with its elements of mystery, humor and mayhem. I can almost picture Tim Curry as the undertaker. “Coffin Humor” is both entertaining and a bit bizarre, venturing almost into “zany” territory thanks to the quick pace. What starts off as an offbeat piece of realistic fiction develops quickly into into a mystery, and finally into a classic battle of wits, holding the reader’s interest throughout.

There are a few grammatical and editing errors, but on the whole I found this piece very enjoyable. The ending was a tad abrupt and, if the story were meant as a serious piece, would elicit an exaggerated eye roll from readers. However, the story’s humorous tone serves Brinling’s surprise ending well and makes it truly enjoyable. Brinling manages to craft likable characters and an intriguing storyline in a short amount of space...a hallmark element of a good short story.

3.5/5 stars
Reviewed by Aubrey Bennet


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