Rebekkah Barrow is a woman in her late-20s with wanderlust. For the past few months, she’s been living in San Diego, and she is glad her sub-let will be up soon. Unsettled, the only place she’s ever felt at home is at her step-grandmother Maylene’s house in the East-Coast town of Claysville.
Byron Montgomery has loved Rebekkah almost as long as he’s known her, but they’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship that was currently off. Byron grew up in Claysville and went on to live other places, practicing his trade as funeral director, but he came home to Claysville a few months ago and knew he was there to stay. Claysville is different from any other place he’s lived. It exerts a pull on him, creating a tension he wasn’t aware of until he crossed the town borders and felt relieved.
One night, Byron is called to Maylene’s house. When he arrives, he can see Maylene had been murdered. The town sheriff is in no hurry to collect evidence, however, which both puzzles and infuriates Byron. Still, there is business to attend to. One of the oddities of Claysville is a law that dictates that anyone who had been born there would be buried without embalming and so had to be interred within 48 hours. This means Rebekkah has to come home for the funeral, and fast.
Rebekkah returns home to an empty house, Byron, and her conviction never to be trapped anywhere. But what she doesn’t know, and neither does Byron, is that she is the next Graveminder of Claysville, and Byron its next Undertaker. Hundreds of years ago, the founders of the town struck a deal with “Mr. D.” The citizens of Claysville would enjoy disease-free life until the age of 80 as long as the Graveminder tended the dead and the Undertaker helped her deal with any dead that were not properly minded by escorting them to the Underworld.