Unrepentant cooze hound lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and unexpectedly in his litter-strewn home. Undiscovered, he rages against God, Nazis, deep fryers, and analogous women who disappoint him.
At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wise cracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past. Is it really worth it?
A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us and we not it.
“Were it not for the calling, I would have just as likely remained an office assistant shuffling files around, and would have been happy doing so.”
Life had another plan. After a long day at the funeral home in the waning months of winter 2010, she looked down the long hall joining the director’s office to the back door leading three steps up and out. At that moment a thought occurred: What if a slightly life-challenged mortician tripped over her man shoes and landed squarely on her posterior, only to learn that someone she once knew and cared about had died, and that she was next on the staff roster to care for his remains?
Like funeral directing, the writing called, and four years and several drafts later, Heuer Lost and Found was born.
What’s a Heuer? Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a man conflicted. Complex, layered, and very dead, he counts on the ministrations of the funeral director to set him free.
A labor of love and a quintessential muse, Heuer has gone on to inspire four other full length works and over a dozen short stories.*
“To my husband John and my children Adam and Melina, I owe thanks for the encouragement, the support, and the belief that what I was doing was as important as anything I’ve tackled before at work or in art.”
Funkhauser is currently working on a new manuscript begun in November during NaNoWriMo 2014.
*The novels: Scooter Nation, The Heuer Effect, Poor Undertaker, Dirty Dale. The Shorts: The Essential Heuer, Jack Bunny and the Rocket Man, Turd Meets Rock, Cassarine, Terra Nova, Ursa Major, Hey! Birdy, Birdy, The Hagfish Conundrum, Mutual of Omaha, Cheetahs in Flight, Lady Predator, and more...
Ms. A.B Funkhauser is a brilliant and wacky writer incapable of dumbing things down and amen for that. Her distinctive voice tells an intriguing story that mixes moral conflicts with dark humor, not too mention booze and cigarettes.
The book’s title refers to the lead character, a lawyer who dies in his home. As the body decomposes, the man’s spirit experiences euphoria, rage, disappointment and eventually hope. One of my favourite characters Enid, an employee of the Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home where Heuer now resides just happens to be Heuer the dead lawyer’s former girlfriend, and as we re-live the flawed recollections of their murky past—it really poses the question. How do we deal with death?
Heuer Lost and Found is a quirky and irreverent story about a man who dies and finds his spirit trapped in a funeral home with an ex-lover who happens to be the mortician. He has to come to terms with his hoarding, degenerate past before he can escape. I love the character of Heuer, the Lawyer. He’s not a loveable character, but he’s as fascinating as watching a bug under a microscope. I found myself rooting for the guy, which is always the mark of a strong character. The characterization is rich the story well-told.
Heuer’s difficult relationship with women and his mother seems to be a focal here, but so are references to friendship, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. The irony that it’s an old girlfriend with a ton of problems taking care of him as his funeral director, is startling. The author depicts the flaws and human nature in both characters. This book is an incredible read that does not allow the audience to "fall asleep" at any time. A MUST READ!
I didn’t know what to make of this at first, and then I was half way through it, and then I was at the end...but I didn't want it to be over. Funkhauser made me learn new words like “aegis” and then I was laughing too hard to notice that I was actually at a sad part. Like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Heuer is not a likeable man, but I somehow found myself rooting for him. A strange, complicated character. I have to look at him again. I hope there'll be more where this came from!
Fellow author and international best seller Bernard Foong graciously penned this review, but was unable to upload it on Goodreads due to technical problems. At his request, I (very happily) reproduce it here. Thank you, friend.
"Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre cord with her book "Heuer Lost and Found". Written from the perspective of an undertaker, she gives her readers a ringside seat at the Weibigand Mortuary where Enid, a middle aged woman with a taste for scotch, arrives on a Monday morning still in a stupor from the night before. Initially, the reader learns a bit about Enid and the history of the mortuary, its original owners and their heirs who continue to operate the family owned business, along with all of its eccentric employees. Early in the day, a call is received and there after a not so typical day in the life of a mortuary begins. Heuer, a well known middle aged attorney has been found dead in his apartment, where he laid for several days. The story now moves between present day and flash backs to a time when Heuer, Enid and others in the story are intertwined in one way or another. Heuer appears as a ghostly spectre to enchant us with his own take on his past, and his current impressions of what is being said and done as his body is prepared for burial. I for one like this book. I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series "Six Feet Under". Ms. Funkhauser is a wizard with words and did a fine job of weaving this story of Greek, German and English speaking families that bounced back and forth throughout the entire book."
This is not your typical ghost story, especially for dear Heuer, recently deceased. Such a puzzle of a man. His past affair with the funeral director, Enid, is also a puzzle, delivered in bits and pieces that kept me turning pages. Details about the funeral home business and what goes into preparing a body for viewing are fascinating, particularly a man who is unfound for days after his death. I never imagined the craziness that goes on behind closed doors, or what might be in the basement, either. Imagine a broken-hearted funeral director (Enid) having to staple through the skull to wire the jaw shut of the man (Heuer) she still loves. At the same time, Heuer wishes he could just touch her one more time before his spirit has to leave earth. Life is filled with many such indignities, and it's how we come to grips with them that carries us through.
Not really horror or occult, this book mixes soul searching with some pretty off the wall humor. When a lawyer dies in his home with his spirit body for company, he must pass the time reminiscing with the walls while learning to move objects with his mind. Once his body’s found by a sexy coroner he madly wants to date, he finds himself stuck at a funeral home with a bunch of odd strangers including an ex girlfriend who likes to drink. What does a guy have to do to get on with his after life? Scaring the crabby neighbor is a start. I enjoyed this book because it’s extremely witty and the characters do really unexpected things like house breaking and scaring mourners at funerals. Perfect for anyone who likes gallows humor!
This beautifully written, quirky, sad, but also often humorous story of Heuer and Enid - one living and the other a spirit stuck between this world and the next - gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, closed world of the funeral director. Years after their relationship ended, the past catches up to both of them in the most unlikely place - the funeral home. Fresh writing filled with rich vocabulary, this story features a vivid cast of colourful, living-breathing characters. This one will keep you reading late into the night until the final page.
There’s a sense of detachment to be found in people who deal with the deceased. Life, though, is not without its upheavals as long as one remains within its bounds. So how do you deal with the application of a spicy story to such resigned protagonists? Enter, Ms. Funkhauser with her masterpiece. To put things in perspective, let us consider a phone call to a funeral house early in the story. It begins with the line: “This is Werner Heuer, Herr Forsythe. My wife and I have need of your services today. My son is dead.” Now consider the sentiment of Mr. Forsythe on the other end, depicted a few lines later: Charlie, calculating profit after disbursements, felt better already. The author’s mastery begins with the very element she chooses to play with to pacify the contrast in her story - time. She opens the door at the universally agonizing hour of 9 AM on a Monday, then begins to step back, before we’re suddenly flung back to Day One: Postmortem - 15 minutes on. The only constant from then on is subtle versions of time-swing that soaks us in. It is fascinating to watch people on two sides of a wall - oblivious to each other and looking at the same thing in an entirely different way - talk to each other but not listen. This is especially so when that wall is the border between life and after-life. In the story, we have Enid on one side, who loses someone once important to her - Heuer - without a chance to say a final goodbye. On the other side, we have Heuer whose story, and in some way, life itself unfolds after his death. As I recently expressed to the author in an interview, in a single stroke she introduces us to both our greatest fear and our greatest wish. And as she had then clarified, the very idea leads to the conclusion that there is no first or second chance, nor is there a wall. Everything we experience in the pages of time is in continuum. A. B. Funkhauser’s likes to play with her narration. She liberally uses non-English phrases, alternates between classy and backstreet lingo, and most pleasingly, embeds past conversations in between the current ones. This fusion aids the above idea. But perhaps the most moving of moments comes when the dead asks God to prove His existence and has his prayers answered almost immediately, at which he frolics, “Yes ! Yes! There is a god!” That joy establishes the fickle unending of our quest for purpose. The author compels us to make peace with a whole lot of commotion. For, in narrating the psyche of the deceased, she makes us face a choice - to use the time we have in peaceful altruism, or to burn ourselves out in constant churn of tit-for-tat scheming, which will not end even after we die. So from a Bastard’s indifferent generosity, to a Rat’s unconditional love, to an inanimate after-life existence in a Lamp, Ms. Funkauser’s message to us is beautifully laid out. As she states, beauty and elegance is not always spotted or even appreciated even when it’s right in front of your face. Her ultimate directive can be summed up in one word: Live. But it takes her book to understand how.
I was given this ebook in return for an honest opinion.
I started out a bit confused in reading this. Unlike some who can read for large blocks of time, I couldn’t. The timing threw me off such that I had to go back several times. That said, this book was unique and chock full of character depth. It definitely makes you have second thoughts about funeral homes, and reminds us – we are all human. Again – the entire approach to this dilemma of Heuer being stuck between planes was well thought out and well written. I love a good dose of sarcasm mixed with reality. It is obvious the author has extensive experience in the business. Like any other stressful line of work, this field has its own steam release valve in humor. I’ve not previously read any of this authors books but of the reviews I’ve done and books I’ve read – this is an author to follow. The only caution I have – though A.B. Funkhauser is a very intelligent author – using a lot of big words tends to frustrate and pull a reader out of the story. I hope to see more of her books soon. I give this book 5 stars.
Heuer, the lawyer, is not a likeable character, but by the end of the book you are rooting for him to succeed in being "found". The other players in this macabre drama are a hodge-podge of oddballs that bring to life a few days of goings on at Weibigand's funeral home. The story is character driven and the reader is drawn in by the various foibles that make up different aspects of human personality. A.B. funkhauser has done an excellent job of showing the realities of the funeral business and it makes for very enlightened reading. Well done.
Multifaceted characters layered into a modern plot with plenty of sub cues based in the past. Heuer and Enid in their own way are similar so it makes sense that they’d come together again even if the circumstances are strange. Though spirit and funeral director never meet face to face, their simpatico is strong and their conversations are heartbreaking and real. The staff at the funeral parlour are good for laughs! Charlie, Dougie and poor old Robert the intern, who has to put up with a lot, break the tension and keep this thing rattling to a poignant conclusion.
The macabre black comedy Heuer Lost And Found, written by A.B. Funkhauser, is definitely a different sort of book! Her protagonist Heuer dies but his spirit hangs around as he waits for his body to be collected a week later from his dirty, litter strewn flat. In the funeral home, ready to be embalmed, he finds out it's an ex-girlfriend, now alcoholic, who will do the process. Add to that a talking rat... You will enjoy this book with its mixture of horror and humour.
Heuer Lost and Found was not necessarily my cup of tea. With that said, I had trouble putting the book down. I was completely drawn in and needed to know what was going to happen next. I had trouble understanding why Heuer was the way he was, until I 'met' his parents. If you are looking for a page turner, I definitely recommend this book.
The world A.B. Funkhauser draws us into in Heuer, Lost and Found isn't a familiar one for ninety percent of us. Make that ninety-five. Even if you're a devotee of Six Feet Under, you'll step into strange territory when you enter the confines of the Weibigand Brothers Funeral home and the mind of Jurgen Heuer.
To describe almost anything about the plot here is to act the spoiler, but I do have to mention that Heuer is dead, though we don't realize that for a page or two, and that he's watching his corporeal substance decompose on his office floor. It's both intriguing and amusing to observe him experimenting with the freedom and limits of his new form of being and his interaction with his fellow ghosts (one of whom inhabits a lamp). All that is humorous in itself, but important to the plot as well, for each new discovery helps advance the action while we try to figure out what's going to become of his earthly estate and of the live humans he's left behind.
Meanwhile, back at the funeral home whose employees eventually--and I do mean eventually--arrives to cart him away, we find an aging establishment on the skids filled with quirky (sometimes savage) characters. Each of these folks has a mission of some sort to fulfill, and all of them work hard to manipulate the others to help them. Even the Rat. Yep. Rat is an important character. The novel is a yeasty mix of plot and people, and Funkhauser's zesty prose keeps you smiling even through the most gruesome scenes.
And some of them are truly gruesome. Few of us are acquainted with the details of embalming (Funkhauser is a funeral director herself), especially on a desiccated corpse, and even fewer of us are anxious to find out. Yet, I never averted my eyes or skipped a page, so well are the details integrated into action and character. If there is a flaw with Heuer, it's that there are a great many players and moving parts, and sometimes they tumble over each other so fast that confusion ensues. But that didn't stop me from surfing on and enjoying it all. Funkhauser has a sequel, Scooter Nation, coming out in March, and I plan to get right in line to buy it. You should, too. After you read Heuer, of course.
Having received my copy of the work personally from the author, the first thing I have to mention, is that although not my usual cup of tea, but Heuer Lost and Found, is without a doubt a great story to get into and stay captivated by.
The setting may seem a little unorthodox and considered slightly macabre, but that is what made this work. This is a story that to me, felt like it abides by its own set rules and the pace is brilliantly maintained by the ever wordy A.B. Funkhauser. Even with an extensive vocabulary, the variety of words used were more of a pleasure than a pain and reminded me of the works by Bram Stoker, a personal favourite author of mine.
The story is lovingly crafted and is full of noteworthy lines that just stick in the memory, such as the phrase: Was sein wird, wird sein und was hineinschaut, schaut auch wieder raus—What will be, will be, and what looks in, looks out.
And if that's not enough to entice, maybe the ensemble cast of Enid, Charlie, Clara is. A trio who although feel like a mix-matched bunch that shouldn't be in each others lives, author Funkhauser bound them together just so.
For a story centered around death, it is full of Life.
At the heart of A.B. Funkhauser's story is a narcissistic misanthrope/sociopath whose only dealings with his fellow human beings have been self-centered. But when he dies, he's forced to examine the life he's led. At the end, he still still denies - somewhat - that his life had been LOST, of no worthy account, but he does come to an understanding of sorts and FINDS a version of the truth, including that the start of his sojourn among the living started put as a lie.
The story is told on several levels that intertwine: the inner workings of a funeral home, the relationships among its workers, and their histories that continue to haunt them and direct their mindsets and interactions with each other - most notably, the shroud of Nazi Germany ancestry than hangs over some of them.
I found this quirky tale that contains strong - and often quite amusing - supernatural elements, to be unique. Funkhauser's vivid imagination is deftly portrayed in this, her debut novel. For a fun read that also challenges readers to come to grips with their legacies, I recommend Heuer Lost and Found.
This is a witty, fun look into the functions and disfunctions of a funeral home on a busy weekend. All of the characters, including the main character, a lawyer by the name of Jurgen Heuer, are flawed and not completely likeable. Heuer falls dead and wanders about in a ghostly state, trying to interact with the people of the funeral home.
Overall, this is a fun read, though I did lose track of what was happening every once in a while and had to back up. This is a very enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to A.B.'s next book.
Had difficulty reading the last chapter through tears... A wonderful story of love lost and found only to be lost again, forever. It awakens that forbidden love from our past when we were too young or perhaps to naïve... This is not just a love story... taking place in a funeral home the spirit of Heuer, Enid's first love, lingering between here and the hereafter, dredging memories of what once was and what could have been. Would love to see the movie version in the near future.
Funkhauser's story is quirky, original, sometimes gross and often funny; I honestly couldn't put this book down until it was finished. (At times, the book reminded me of Six Feet Under). I loved the characters, as warped as they were, they were so endearing, especially Enid. A fun read -- looking forward to more from this author.
I really enjoyed this quirky, funny, dark book. The POVs are deep, intimate, off-kilter and unpredictable. The setting is one many authors back away from, but what happens to our life after our death and its effect on the people we touch is a poignant subject from which to mine a story, and A.B. Funkhauser does this masterfully. I had some issues with the two female characters who at times seemed too alike, especially in voice, and I wonder if they could have been more effectively rendered as one character, but overall this wasn't enough to throw me off this book or future work by this author. The death and times of Heuer is poignant, offensive, grating, humorous, brilliant and uneven all at once, and the writing at times is vividly surreal. There are a few quirks but overall this is a ride worth taking and an author worth watching.
Chocked full of dark humour, Funkhauser takes us behind the scenes of a frenetic funeral parlour. It's a unique setting - certainly one I've never come across before - and the detailed descriptions of the procedures therein highlight an in depth knowledge of this area. Add to this a troupe of complicated, colourful characters and you're set for a bumpy ride.
It's an ensemble piece, but Heuer takes centre stage as the corpse. His spirit lingers around the parlour, drawn to one of the employees who forms a portion of his past. He gets mixed up in the in-house fighting that grows ever bleaker until we race toward a startling finale. There's a talking rat, embalming and murky goings-on.
I used this word earlier, but its one that kept repeating in my head as I read. Unique! But also compelling, funny, enlightening and touching. You won't read anything like this anywhere else. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
My review is also on Amazon under the title's ebook page:
Deft prose and richly drawn characters highlight dark comedy, and Funkhauser's knowledge of the industry she illuminates is gripping, adding immersive depth to the world she creates inside the funeral parlor. All of this coupled with gonzo humor provides an often hilarious, often squeamish page turner. An excellent novel more than worthy of your time.
I chose this book because the categories promised humour, horror, and occult treats. All true, but I found the humour dark, the horror only too real, and the occult quite plausible. Once I got over the initial shock of the goings-on at the family-run funeral home, I quite enjoyed the multiple POV characters. I can’t say I liked or sympathized with any of them, but I couldn’t stop reading on to see what happened to the train wrecks that are their lives. Somehow, most of them survived to embalm another corpse on another day. Even the ghost was by turn damaged, immature, sad, noble – and human. The five stars are for the stellar writing that made me care about these messed up characters, and for the genre-busting plot. Not to mention the whacked-out spirit guide that had me saying, “What! What!” in every scene where it/he/she appeared. I only hope the Weibigand Funeral Home is a figment of the author’s imagination. If you want something different to read, give this one a try.