A Conversation with Oliver “Tuck” Tucker by TJ O’Connor

Dying to TellDying is as perilous as secrets and lies. Depending, of course, on who is keeping the secrets and who is telling the lies. Trust me, I’m in the secrets and lies business—I’m a homicide cop. Well, I was. Secrets and lies can lead to big problems—like murder—although it’s not in the secrets or the lies themselves. It’s that someone always wants to tell. The urge is like an addict needing a fix. You need to tell—you cannot help it—you have to tell. Sometimes it’s out of guilt. Sometimes it’s for revenge. Sometimes it’s just spite. No matter, in the end, someone is always dying to tell.

Considering the bizarre case I’m up against this time, it’s the telling in Dying to Tell that causes all the problems. Especially for me—it’s hard enough to be the finest homicide cop in little Winchester, Virginia. But when I’ve got swanky bankers, mysterious archeologists, and World War II spy-capers mixing in with good old fashion killing, it’s a real bi. . . bugger.

Oh, and on top of it all, did I mention I’m dead? Yep—I’m Tuck, formerly Detective Oliver Tucker of the Frederick County Sheriff’s office. I was a hotshot homicide detective before noises in my house put a bullet in my heart. You see, dead and gone are two totally different things. I’m dead, but as Angel and Hercule will tell you—well, maybe not Hercule, he’s my dog—I’m just not gone.

So my day started just after seven a.m. when I caught my Angel, that’s Professor Angela Tucker, former wife, er, widow, sneaking off for a secret meeting with the local nut-job-banker, William H. Mendelson. Angel is the whole prize—beautiful, brilliant, great job, loves Hercule—and best of all, she can see and hear me. Big plusses in my world of boo. And you gotta understand, it’s been two years since my death and you know what that means, right? No steak, no wine, no candlelight dinners, and worst of all, no, er, lights-out-tango.

But, I digress.

This morning started bad. Someone tried to rob the bank and take Angel hostage. Before I could save the day—that’s what I’m good at—suave, handsome, do-good bank executive, Franklin Thorne shoots it out with the would-be robber and saves Angel. Well, mostly saves the day. Unfortunately, I found old William Mendelson dead inside a secret vault in his bank’s basement. Well, it was supposed to be secret. He thought it was secret. The only real secret was that everyone in town knew it was there. And obviously, so did the robber.

Anyway, all hell broke loose. William had a few more secrets, and not just at the bank. He kept a stash of Egyptian antiquities in his secret vault. Where they came from is sort of interesting, too. He and some newcomers to Winchester, including Keys Hawkins, the owner of a new 1940’s jazz club called the Kit Kat West, have a history from Cairo during World War II. There was some goings on involving the Germans, the Allies, and one Oliver Tucker—no, not me, my grandfather. On top of that, this crazy lady, Dr. Raina Iskandr, an Egyptian Archeologist, is snooping around. Add in William Mendelson’s un-scrupled son, Marshal, Franklin Thorne, a couple odd bank employees, and holy-Seth-the-Egyptian mummy, what a nightmare!

But, they’re not the problem.

It’s my Angel.

She’s starting to get a little fidgety. Two years of having to keep the blinds down in the house to have any normalcy with me is getting to her. We can’t go out, we can’t even have a conversation in public. And, as I’ve said before, we can’t be husband and wife. Look, she’s gorgeous and smart and all and she has life to live. Is it unfair that I keep her from it?

Yes it is. No, no it’s not—she’s my wife for Pete’s sake. No, really, it’s … oh, hell, you get it. Our marriage is on the rocks. And the worst part? I have to sit back and watch as she starts to live a little.

Ouch.

And no fear, Poor Nic Bartalotta is back with a vengeance. And he’s sort of in a bad mood. His empire, and his life, are on the line. But hey, dying isn’t all that bad, right? After all, it doesn’t mean that he can’t be a character in the future. And holy Cab Calloway—when did Cal Clemens become a big-shot jazz musician?

So that’s sort of how my day is shaping up. Bodies. Spies. Handsome bankers, and spirited visits to 1942. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, Bear Braddock and Hercule. No fear, Bear is helping me chase the bad guys and Hercule is keeping the home front free of suave playboys.

It’s true, though, everyone is Dying to Tell. The problem is, telling leads to the dying. For you though, be careful following this case. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing. And, in the end, telling is to die for.


Dying To Tell is the third book in the “Gumshoe Ghost” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, January 2016.

About the author
TJ O’connor Is The 2015 Gold Medal Winner Of The Independent Publishers Book Awards For Mysteries tjand the author of Dying to Know, Dying for the Past, and Dying To Tell. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children.

Dying to Know is also a 2015 Bronze Medal winner for the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Book Review Awards, a Finalist for the 2015 Silver Falchion Award, and a Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award finalist.

Learn about TJ’s world at www.tjoconnor.com, Facebook, his Blog, The Plot Thickens and Goodreads

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a copy of your choice from the “Gumshoe Ghost” series (Dying To Know, Dying For The Past, Dying To Tell). US entries only, please. The giveaway will end January 22 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

39 responses to “A Conversation with Oliver “Tuck” Tucker by TJ O’Connor

  1. I normally don’t go for “ghosts” as book characters, but this writing is so hilarious that I’d be a fool not to say I’m interested in reading this one. Oh yes, I am. (And I’ll check out his other stuff at the library.)

    • Thanks, Jill. Truth be told, it’s not a ghost story at all. It’s really a traditional mystery with that paranormal spin. It just so happens the lead character, who tells the story, is dead. You sort of forget that as the story progresses! I hope you enjoy the series.

  2. Dru, this is just strange enough to interest me. You know how much I love reading paranormal books. Toss my name into the magic hat please.

    • Thank you for your interest!

    • I hope you’ll like them. Each story has three elements: a traditional murder mystery, a historical subplot that intertwines with the murder, and a continuing storyline of Tuck’s (the lead character) family history that explains much of why the events are unfolding. Think Richard Castle meets Ghost (Swayze) or Topper meets the Thin man.

  3. This sounds very interesting and different. Anxious to read. The author sounds even more interesting with his varied background! Love the cover art.

  4. I loved the first book in the series

  5. Brenda Tucker

    Sounds like fun to read – what happens next?

  6. Doward Wilson

    A must read series. Thanks for introducing us to it.

  7. New series and author to me. Sounds like a great one. 🙂

    • I think you’ll enjoy. Think Ghost (Swayze) meets Richard Castle, or from the 40’s, Topper meets the Thin man. Light, fast readying. Not a typical cozy in that there are more twists and turns. (At least, I hope so!) I hope you like it!

  8. I love this series and can’t wait to get the new book.

  9. Thank you, Gram. I warn you, this is not a typical cozy. There are twists and turns. But it’s also a light, fun read. Drop me a line via http://www.tjoconnor.com when you do read it. Low to hear your thoughts.

  10. A great series which I enjoy. Thanks.

  11. elainehroberson

    I’m always looking for new-to-me authors to try. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  12. New series and author to me, but it sounds great. Can’t wait to check them out. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  13. It sounds like a very good murder and ghost story.

  14. I usually don’t get into ghosts, zombies, etc., but since I’ve been reading Joyce and Jim Lavene and other cozy writers I have enjoyed reading them now. This is a new one for me to add to my to be read list. robeader53@yahoo.com

  15. How interesting, POV of a ghost.

    • You’ll find that Tuck may be a ghost, but this is not a ghost story by any means. It’s a traditional mystery with the paranormal twist of him telling the story and being the lead detective. I hope you enjoy.

  16. This sounds like a great series. Every review I read is better, moving up on my TBR!

  17. Now that is a challenging marriage situation!

  18. Ohhh, I cannot wait to read Dying to Tell!! This is one of my favorite series.

  19. This book sounds great! I am adding it to the top of my TBR list with a note to READ FIRST!

    • Terrific! You might begin with Book I in the series, Dying to know, and work through all three. While they can be read separately, they work better in series. But, either way I appreciate your interest. When you’ve read, drop me a line via email through http://www.tjoconnor.com

  20. Thank you Dru and TJ for the intro of this series. I would love to win the debut! Sounds like a great read.
    Sandy in So. Cali

  21. Sounds interesting – requested Dying To Know from my library.

  22. I read the first book in the series and loved it! Tuck is a ghost that you can really relate to.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  23. Della Williamson

    This does looks like a most intriguing read. New author to get to know. A new series. Always exciting. I’d like an early start to the series. If not? Well I have a great book store agent. She will have some more added to the list. thanks you guys for the heads up to a new writer and series.