Tag Archives: TJ O’Connor

My Musing ~ New Sins for Old Scores by T.J. O’Connor

New Sins for Old Scores by T.J. O’Connor is a murder with a paranormal twist novel. Publisher: Black Opal Books, May 2017

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And, when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history–but, after years as a cop, he is about to get the lesson of his life. Ambushed and dying on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall–the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder. Soon Jax is a suspect in a string of murders–murders linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East–a plot similar to the World War II OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and intelligent historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy-year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, Jax and Trick hunt for the link between their pasts–confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again. Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

This was a fun book to read and I especially loved the short chapters that made it easier to follow the sequences told in this engaging drama. The past and present collide when Jax is saved by Trick, a WWII ghost who wants his murder solved. Between the two of them, they have provided me some enjoyment as they, especially Jax, learns to accept Trick into his life. As always, the author delivers a finely tuned mystery with great substance, that I wanted to relive this book again.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a copy of the book from the author.

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!

A Different Day in the Life with Oliver Tucker by TJ O’Connor

Dying for the PastDying is not for the faint of heart.

Unfortunately, dying is also not reserved for the very old, the very ill, or the very deserving either. Sometimes, dying is unfair and ill timed—almost always, it’s irritating. Just when things are great—you’re a hotshot homicide detective married to a brilliant, beautiful professor—then, wham, someone shoots you in the heart. I’m not being figurative here; I mean right in the heart. One minute you’re alive and on this earth, and the next minute you’re dead, and, well, still on this earth.

Just to be clear, being among the living and being one of them are two separate things.

I’m Tuck. Formally, Detective Oliver Tucker, and I’m a damn fine homicide cop. Oh, I’m also dead—just not gone.

See, about a year ago, a crazed killer murdered me in my own house. Oh, he wasn’t breaking in for the cheap silver or dog cookies—he was after my wife. She’d unearthed a secret hidden for decades. A deadly secret. His secret. And I took a bullet for her.

That bullet ended my life and started a new career—a dead detective, or rather, a detective for the dead. Some call me the Ghost Gumshoe—a nom de guerre I’m not fond of, but no one asked me. Hercule hides his head when he hears that name. Angel teases me with it. Oh, Hercule’s my black Lab and best pal. Angel’s my wife and, uh hum, a Professor of History at the University of the Shenandoah Valley and acting Department Chair. She’s a local big shot, gorgeous, smart, and, well, gorgeous. She calls me a private-dic—err, detective—ever since meeting Sassie and Vincent Calaprese—my new pals from 1939.

Yes, 1939—seventy-six years ago.

See, after I was clipped by that crazy last year—ah, sorry, that’s Vincent rubbing off again—after I was murdered, I’ve been meeting the dead. Not all dead people; that would be too weird. Just those who want overdue justice. In my last case, Dying to Know, a couple pretty, young, dead girls were looking for justice and I served it up. Their killer—my killer—had been on a killing-spree for many years. He made the mistake of adding me to his list. That cost him. It cost him big.

My latest caper—Dying for the Past—just broke. There’s the big hint … for the past. Someone’s got some ‘splainin’ to do for their past. Another hint—it ain’t Hercule or Angel, either.

Here’s the short version. Angel and I were at her highbrow charity ball for the rich and famous. All the big shots were there—and they let my detective partner Bear Braddock in, too. Anyway, there we were enjoying some old swing music when this mysterious philanthropist got drilled, err killed, in front of a hundred guests right in the middle of the dance.

Crazy, right?

I was standing there watching my Angel in her sexy evening dress—icing poured hot over sultry curves—when bam!—Mr. Carnation gets clipped. (Mr. Carnation is not his real name.)

No, no one saw diddly. No smoking gun. No murderer. Nothing. The killer jitterbugged in and gunned him down to Benny Goodman.

Crazy, right?

The next thing I know, Bear and his detectives were running around chasing shadows. The FBI got involved and the US Attorney’s Office, too. Even the Russian mob got in the act. Then, someone was stalking Angel … a missing Federal witness … a lost mob stooge. Even, some crazy old lady in a karate gi (I swear!), and of course, Poor Nic Bartalotta’s hand was in the cookie jar. Oh, Poor Nic is a retired New York mob boss who settled in Winchester. He also happens to be gaga over my Angel. He’s not a bad guy, mind you, just a former racketeer, murderer, embezzler, swindler, and thug. He is retired though. So he has that going for him.

You’ll love Poor Nic, honest.

Then, just when I thought I’d seen it all, I met Vincent and Sassy. Vincent’s an old mob boss, too—from 1939. I also met Sassy, well, phew… she’s the twenty-something va-va-voom gal on his elbow. And she likes me. A lot.

How does all this fit together? A new murder and old gangsters?

It’s all about the past. It’s all about the book.

The book, see, is Vincent’s journal containing all the mobsters, spies, and miscreants from the good old days leading up World War II. You know what? A lot of those families are still around—or their crimes are. That book will lead whoever reads it to a few million in loot and a whole lot of names and dates and espionage rings and blackmail and bodies.

Needless to say, everyone wants the book. Everyone.

So, what do you think they’re all willing to do for it?


You can read more about Tuck in Dying For The Past, the second book in the “Gumshoe Ghost” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. The first book in the series is Dying To Know.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on January 23 for the chance to win a copy of DYING FOR THE PAST. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
tjTJ O’Connor lives in Virginia with his wife and three Labs. Dying for the Past, the first of two sequels to Dying to Know, releases January 8, 2015—available now for pre-orders. Dying to Know is available in bookstores and online everywhere. TJ is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism and investigations. Learn about his world at www.tjoconnor.com and Facebook.

Dying to Know by TJ O’Connor

Dying to KnowDying to Know by TJ O’Connor is the first book in the new “Gumshoe Ghost” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, January 2014

Dying is overrated. Murder is not.

Detective Oliver Tucker prefers to be the guy investigating shootings, not the guy getting shot. So when he returns as a ghost after being murdered in his home, it’s only natural for Tuck to investigate the most important case of his life—his own. Detective, solve thyself!

Piecing together cold cases, foggy memories, and eerie premonitions, Tuck fears that if he doesn’t figure out who pulled the trigger, his wife may be the next victim. Surprised to discover many earth-bound spirits chasing the same killer, Tuck’s unique perspective from the other side leads him to a chilling conclusion—it’s the living, not the dead, who are most terrifying.

I like it. When Tuck is murdered in his own home, he comes back as a ghost and realizes it is up to him to solve his own murder, with some help from unlikely sources.

This was one book that I could not put down as each chapter was more fetching than the previous one in keeping me glued to the pages. The fast-paced, non-stop action drama pulled me in immediately with a solid plot and a great cast of characters beginning with Tuck and those that surrounded him. The author did a great job in teasing us with a myriad of suspects and clues that kept me guessing throughout most of the soft-boil mystery and boy, did I turn that page fast as we got closer to the killer’s identity, which really caught me by surprise. A good job, well done in this nicely played-out drama. I’m looking forward to the next book to see how Tuck handles his new life.

A Day in the Life—err, Death—of Oliver “Tuck” Tucker by TJ O’Connor

Dying to KnowDying is overrated. Murder is not.

Trust me, after fifteen years as a detective, I know a lot about both. Like death and murder are always complicated, but not always related. You can have death without murder, but not the other way around. That’s what I used to think anyway. Now, I know you can have it both ways. I’m living, or rather dying, proof.

I’m Tuck—formerly Detective Oliver Tucker—and I used to be a homicide detective in Winchester, a small community in northwestern Virginia. My partner, Bear Braddock, and I thought life was good. He was my partner and best friend. I was married to Angel, a beautiful and brilliant history professor, and he had, well, me as his partner.

Everyone wins, right?

Not so much.

One night during my reoccurring nightmare—I was chasing a bad guy and he turned and shot me—someone broke into our home. Hercule, my black Lab, woke me and Angel sent me to investigate. It didn’t turn out well.

The bastard was waiting for me. He murdered me with my own gun—right there in my own house.

And then things got really bad.

Winchester’s near-300-year history began to haunt me. For a rural community for the most part—it’s too small to really be a city and too large to be a town—it has an abundance of secrets. You see, it’s steeped in fascinating history all the way back to George Washington with extra helpings of the Civil War. We’ve got it all—Civil War battlefields, Mosby’s Rangers, prohibition gangsters, World War II spies, and all manner of heroes, villains, and characters. I never knew that some of them were connected to me. Some of those heroes and villains (but mostly the characters) will drive my adventures as a dead detective—starting with trying to solve the most important case of my life. My own.

But these things happen.

So anyway, I was murdered. That left Angel and Bear trying to solve my case without me. Or are they? See, a couple of other detectives on my squad aren’t so sure. At least one of them, a little snake named Spence, thinks Angel and Bear are in my murder up to their cheating hearts. And dead or not, I have to know. And it hurts all the way to the truth.

But, being dead isn’t all bad. My best pal, Hercule, doesn’t care. He loves me just the same—although it’s a little harder to play ball. And I found a crusty old spirit living in my house I never knew about—Doc Gilley—and I’ve learned that he and Hercule are old pals. So holy “shoot me in the heart,” my new world is complicated and strange. And all I have is a lazy, ball-playing dog and a crotchety old surgeon to guide me.

What could go wrong?

It took a while to reach Angel—Hercule helped me. Once I did, she and I are making a pretty good team hunting my killer. And along the way, I’m learning a thing or two about being dead. Like I have this neat talent for hanging around and listening to other’s conversations when they don’t know it—and I don’t need a warrant. And I can sometimes flash into a person’s memories and past—if I can find a way to connect to them and if those memories or past are emotionally charged. Like someone being another murder victim or even a cold-blooded serial killer. Then WHAM sometimes I can connect the dots. True, those little vignettes are not always clear—it’s not like on T.V.—but the trips down psycho lane do help. And Angel and Hercule do too—although Angel seems more worried about protecting Bear’s secrets than solving my killing. Oh, she’s okay with me being back—it was the “why” part she’s worried about.

Bear’s another story.

See, Theodore Braddock has a thick head sometimes. He’s a mountain of man and a very private one, too. He refuses to believe I’m around. Not that I blame him. But what’s not clear is why he’s so rattled. Is he worried I might be back to kill my murderer? Does he have something to lose in that equation? What did I miss all those years we were partners? Hmmm…

Time will tell.

So there you have it. I’m a dead detective trying to solve my murder—and other’s too. That’s why I’m back among the living but not one of them. I can work with the living and help the dead find justice. They just don’t pay me a retainer or expenses.

I really don’t have a choice, now do I?


You can read more about Tucker in Dying To Know, the first book in the new “Gumshoe Ghost” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on January 7, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Dying to Know. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
TJ O’Connor is the author of Dying to Know, available in books stores and e-books on January 8th, 2014. TJtj 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’s 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 three lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying To Know is the first of seven novels to be published.

Visit TJ at his website, or on Facebook


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