Punchy opening. Punchy chapters. And a bit of punching.
The Obituarist is essentially a detective story, with Kendall Barber a social media undertaker for the recently deceased, that is to say, he cleans up their digital fingerprints after they've passed on. So with this neat little premise, the novella quickly introduces us to a world full of potential crime and stories. The Obituarist is sharp, funny, and playful. The mystery is deftly introduced, and from early on, we're thrown full tilt into Kendall Barber's 'case', and the gathering players soaring around him.
The Obituarist covers a lot of ground rather quickly and despite a few flaws, slides down like a good whiskey (single malt at that). O'Duffy pulls on the skin of the crime story quite comfortably. The Obituarist jumps through the right hoops for the genre - it has the familiar tropes, reveals and twists, but this is part of what makes it a fast, fun read anyway. The story has a mostly satisfying ending: with the A-plot a dash predictable, it still kept surprising me in little ways, and while I found myself much more engrossed in the B-plot, some twists sat right, and some didn't quite.
Ultimately, the novella gives an enjoyable and tasty teaser into the scary world of identify theft, and that of Kendall and Port Virtue (and I hope to see a bit more of their story in the future).