Dying to Know by TJ O’Connor

DYING
Dying to Know by TJ O’Connor
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (364 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Dying is overrated. Murder is not.

That’s what Detective Oliver Tucker used to think. Not now. He’s dead—murdered—and back as an earth-bound spirit to help his wife, Professor Angela Tucker, crack the most important case of his life—his own.

But, this is not a ghost story; it’s a murder case.

Tuck knows why he is back among the living but not one of them—Detective Solve Thyself. Perhaps he was murdered because of his last case—a murder involving a retired mob boss, a local millionaire land developer, a New York hit man, and the local university elite. Or could it be that Bear Braddock, his best friend and partner for more than fifteen years, wants Angela? Tuck knows that everything surrounds Kelly’s Dig where the discovery of Civil War graves may put an end to a multi-million dollar highway project. If it does, who stands to gain the most? Enough to kill?

Using his unique skills, Tuck weaves through half-truths and generations-old lies chasing a madman. And he’s not alone—others, dead and alive—are hunting the same killer. Still nothing can change the truth—it is the living, not the dead, who are most terrifying.

Dying to Know is a clever murder-mystery with a twist: the victim, a police detective, is investigating his OWN murder.

‘Tuck” Tucker discovers the myriad of limitations of ghostly life to be an annoyance when investigating, although of course, there is the odd benefit too. Just how friendly is his heartbroken wife Angela, with his own old Partner and best Friend Bear Braddock? He can see what Bear is investigating but can’t always see exactly what he wants. Hercule, his dog, is the only one that seems able to see or hear him.

The Captain, a couple of sleazy cops, heck, even other ghosts are believable enough, but at times… mystery fans will find circumstances that stretch the bounds of the plausible. The pace of the story keeps you interested though; you are, in fact, dying to know. It is in no way tough to keep reading. By the time you have some doubts, you pretty much share Tuck’s suspicions and are reviewing every single clue in your mind.

In this story, clues are mostly events. They are happenings that Tuck experiences or sees, and has to try to decipher. Human interaction is evaluated, but within Tuck’s limitations. He’s not able to open doors or go places at will, so his investigation is a struggle. The value of his investigation becomes clearer (and more important) as the story moves forward, because he’s likely not the only victim.

Dying to Know kicks off with a shock: “Someone killed me – murdered me in my own home.” O’Connor’s dramatic start leads us into an intriguing puzzle. Yes, at times incredible, but the mystery itself is well done, the writing beautiful and the story overall haunting, charming, and engaging. Do read

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