Thursday, June 26, 2014
THE WAYS OF THE DEAD by NEELY TUCKER
I find it difficult to believe this mystery novel is Neely Tucker's first. His only previous volume was a memoir. He is a man with a quirky view of the world, a great sense of humor, a journalist's instincts, and a beautiful talent for writing. After finishing this book, I've decided he's simply brilliant.
He has worked for the Washington Post for many years and draws on that experience to create his main character, Sully Carter. Carter is back in Washington working for a newspaper after covering the war in Bosnia where he was nearly killed in an explosion. He had fallen in love with a woman there and she died in bombing. They both understood that theirs was doomed to be only a wartime romance but that doesn't make it any easier for him to get over losing her.
Meanwhile he contends with his physical scars and a bad limp as he tries to avoid working in his confining office and uses his time on the street to make contacts. In effect, he covers the city as he covered the war, a method that drives his superiors crazy. They only keep him on because he never fails to get the story and he writes so well. He is dealing unsuccessfully with a drinking problem so his life is a constant battle with hangovers, run-ins with his editors, and his failing relationship with his girlfriend who is a bartender.
When a judge's teenage daughter is the victim of an attack, he recalls other young female victims in the same small area and catches on that there is a serial killer at work. No one else agrees but he is determined to learn more about the other victims. He gets caught up in one of the most twisted plots I've read in a long time. It wasn't so much confusing as it was fun to try to follow who was up to what. I was fooled off and on all the way to the end and I loved it.
The neighborhood where most of the action takes place and the people who live there are fully formed characters who keep you involved in the story. I do hope there will be a sequel because I'm anxious to follow Sully Carter's adventures more.
Source: Amazon Vine