Dying To Know
A Gumshoe Ghost Mystery by Tj O'Connor
Review: When detective Oliver "Tuck" Tucker is shot and killed inside his home, he's surprised to discover that his ghost survives — and as such, he is determined to learn who murdered him in Dying To Know, the first mystery in this series by Tj O'Connor.
Tuck doesn't quite know how to be a ghost. He cannot manipulate objects, though when he touches some, particularly those that have special meaning or significance, he feels energized. Still, he cannot open doors so unless and until someone else does, he's basically confined to a single room. That is until he learns that he can teleport from one spot to another. But even that is largely beyond his control, as it seems to happen subconsciously and without warning. The only physical object that is aware of his existence as a ghost is his dog, Hercule.
While he is pained to see his wife Angel grieve for him, he is puzzled by the actions of the other person he felt particularly close to: his partner, detective Theodore "Bear" Braddock. Tuck watches him hide a manila folder from the crime scene technicians, and pocket a business card that is clearly evidence. And when he sees Bear take out a key to his own home, Tuck wonders about the rumors he's been hearing, that Bear and Angel were having an affair. Which, if true, would give one or both of them a motive to kill him. But could he have been so wrong about the two people he thought he knew so well?
Dying To Know stumbles a bit at first, not unlike Tuck's ghost trying to figure out the lay of the land, what he does know and far more importantly, what he doesn't. And some of the paranormal elements, such as Tuck traveling back and forth in time and his dead voice being recorded on a cell phone to be heard by Angel, don't seem strictly necessary. But it's easy to overlook these plot conveniences once the story gains traction and gets rolling as the murder mystery itself is a real puzzler, both for Tuck and the reader. An affair between Bear and Angel never quite rings true — and, slight spoiler, isn't the case anyway — but there are plenty of other suspects to consider. The credibility of Tuck's investigation more than compensates for some of the more incredible aspects of the story, keeping it more grounded than fanciful. A strong start to this series with more to come. As the mysterious Doc Gilley — who appears now and then to help Tuck stay the course — says at the end, "Do you think you can solve one or two little murders and poof, you're home free?"
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided a copy of Dying To Know for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Dying To Know:
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Dying To Know by Tj O'Connor — A Gumshoe Ghost Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 2014
List Price: $14.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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