Dying for the Past by TJ O'Connor – Review, Guest Post + Kindle Giveaway

Dying for the Past by TJ O'Connor - Review, Guest Post + Kindle Giveaway

I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.

Dying for the Past by TJ O'Connor – Review, Guest Post + Kindle GiveawayDying for the Past on January 8, 2015
Pages: 395
Format: Paperback
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Dying is not for the faint of heart . . .

Neither is the murder of a mysterious philanthropist with ties to the Russian mob and 1939 gangsters.

At an A-list charity ball organized by his wife, Angela, former detective Oliver “Tuck” Tucker is doing his best to prove that ghosts know how to have a good time—until a man is murdered in cold blood on the dance floor.

Never one to let a mystery go unsolved, Tuck is on the case with help from Angela and his former police-detective partners. Together, they must be the first to read “the book”—deceased gangster Vincent Calabrese’s journal that names names and reveals the dirty secrets of several modern-day spies.

As Tuck learns the book’s secrets, he begins to unravel his own family’s wayward past, leading to the question—is being a ghost hereditary? Even while chasing a killer, the biggest challenge Tuck must conquer is how to be back amongst the living . . . but not one of them.

I am thrilled to welcome TJ O’Connor, author of Dying to Know and Dying for the Past, to Brooke Blogs today. TJ has a great guest post. Read on – I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

Dying Just For The Fun Of It

Dying can be fun. Dying can be adventurous. So come on, die with me and enjoy a couple murders and mayhem with a little paranormal twist on the side.

What do you have to lose?

No, I haven’t lost my mind, although many who know me might argue. I’m talking about the case files of Oliver “Tuck” Tucker — the Ghost Gumshoe. Tuck and his wife, er widow, Professor Angela Tucker, are on the cases of some terrible murders in small town Winchester, Virginia. They are helped by Detective Bear Braddock, Tuck’s former police detective partner, and the spirit-taming Hercule, Tuck’s loyal black Lab. Together, with an eclectic mix of odd characters like Poor Nic Bartalotta, the town’s infamous, albeit only, retired New York mob boss, and Doc, a wayward spirit living in Tuck’s house guiding him through his cases, the cases chase history and modern day murders. Oh, there are many other characters, too—living and dead—and they all want a piece of the action. You see, each of Tuck’s cases revolve around two important events—a modern murder with twisting plotlines and a historical subplot that trips up Tuck and his pals as they try to find the links between past and present. In the end, the two stories collide with deadly consequences—and a few chuckles along the way.

And all that and a little paranormal twist, too.

You see, Tuck is a dead detective—and a detective for the dead. In his first book, Dying to Know, Tuck is murdered (no, I’m not giving away the plot) and returns to solve his own killing. Think Ghost meets Richard Castle. Or for the more mature of us, Topper meets The Thin Man. During his first case, Tuck encounters other spirits, too—victims from the past who want justice and a side order of revenge. Tuck’s the man, er, the detective, for the job. You see, Tuck has skills other spirits and homicide cops don’t have. He can work for the dead and commune with the living. He’s a conduit for overdue justice.

In Dying to Know, Tuck must quickly learn the ropes as a dead detective—how to be back among the living but not really one of them—and stop a killer before he strikes again. But he’s too late—a couple times too late—and Tuck realizes that his own murder had a very disturbing reason … to silence the dead. In the background of Tuck’s murder case, Bear and Angel are dealing with the discovery of Civil War graves that threaten to stop a multi-million dollar highway project around Winchester. A lot of people don’t want that to happen. A lot of people do. When those collide, bodies seem to fall left and right. But how could Civil War graves have anything to do with two missing teenagers from the 1960s? And what does any of this have to do with Tuck?

Nothing. And everything.

And therein lies the basis for my stories. Each of Tuck’s cases intertwines a modern murder with a historical subplot. Tuck has to solve both murder cases to solve the bigger, grander story—how are they connected and what does it all mean? And with each story, Tuck learns more and more about his own past—a past hidden from him as he grew up in foster care—and the biggest secret of all is that being dead is hereditary. His long lost relatives all had some pretty interesting pasts—all of which are based in history—and not all of them were on the right side of the law.


In Dying for the Past—Tuck’s second case—he’s investigating the murder of a mysterious philanthropist killed in front of a hundred witnesses; although no one saw anything. To find the killer, he must also contend with Vincent Calaprese and Sassy. Vincent kept a journal called, “The Book.” In it, he recorded the secrets of mob families and spy networks throughout Washington D.C. in World War II. The book is worth millions. Everyone wants the book.

The key to the historical subplots mingling with the modern murder is unlocked using some of Tuck’s unique spirit-skills. As he can commune with the dead, he often is shown snippets of the past that guide him along the cases. No, Tuck has no clairvoyance, mind you, but he is occasionally able to visit the past and observe events surrounding the historical subplot. Like visiting Washington D.C. in 1939 and witnessing odd goings-on around a family restaurant called Quixote’s Windmill. But since these little trips into history are rarely what they seem, Tuck must always untangle the truth from the hazy memories of the long-dead victims. Somewhere in between memory and truth is the killer.

But these are not ghost stories, they’re murder mysteries.

While the stories all have a paranormal twist to them—after all, Tuck’s a dead detective chasing overdue justice and often in the past—the plot lines are traditional mysteries. There are clues and crime scenes, victims and witnesses, evidence and misdirection. Even a rogue witness here and there.

So come along with Tuck and me and find out why it’s the living, not the dead, who are the most dangerous.

Thank you so much for stopping by, TJ!

Dying for the Past by TJ O’Connor is the second book in the delightful Gumshoe Ghost Mystery series. I requested the first book from the library in preparation for this book tour. I was really glad I did – I devoured it in less than 2 days. You can check out my review here.

Okay, on to Dying for the Past. In this installment, Tuck is tasked with figuring out the connection between a present day murder and a mobster related crime in the 1930s. Tuck, a former homicide detective turned ghost detective, once again enlists the help of his former partner, Bear, and his wife, Angel, to figure out whodunit in this ghostly mystery. I loved this story! I really love the characters, the settings, and the paranormal aspects of it all. I like that the author has Tuck solving crimes in present-day and in eras past.

This story was just plain fun for me to read. The mystery is spot on, with twists and different suspects to keep you guessing until the end. I’m a big fan of the author’s writing style. I cannot wait to read more from TJ O’Connor. I’m anxiously awaiting the next Gumshoe Ghost Mystery and more Tuck!

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Rating Report
Overall: five-stars


5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’m very interested in this series. It has an Old Dragnet feel to it. The covers are great. I must have them.

  2. This sounds like a great book. I love mysteries and the added paranormal twist makes it more enticing to me.

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