Smokey the Cat
T.J. O'Connor

Sixty seconds with T.J. O'Connor...

Tj O'Connor is the author of seven novels and an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis--life experiences that drive his novels. He has also published two Gumshoe Ghost mysteries, in which the detective is a ghost in communication with his live wife.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

O'Connor: A big teddy bear who swashbuckles around the world for kicks.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

O'Connor: Well, since there is no electricity, how about a written record-transcript by Popular Mechanics on how to build a yacht from driftwood and coconut shells?

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

O'Connor: A detective and a writer. And I have been those and much more.

Will Thomas

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Michael Kahn

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April 25, 2015

Perhaps the strangely unseasonable weather is at fault, but something about today's lineup puts me more in mind of Halloween than spring. That's because there's an unusual amount of the paranormal of one sort or another cropping up. We have, for example, unusual neurological conditions, cults, possible alien abductions, and even an on-line psychic. Even our guest in the "Sixty Seconds With..." box is the author of a series starring a private detective who happens to be dead.

That said, there's nothing particularly unusual about Lucas Davenport's mental state in John Sandford's STATE OF PREY aside from his periodic depression. He does come in contact with the Insane Clown Posse, however, and some Juggalos. Barbara Fister approved. But the former detective in David Baldacci's MEMORY MAN has a very strange condition - a football injury has left him with total recall of his entire life. And he has to use every bit of it to find out who killed his family. Anne Corey hopes that this marks the beginning of a new series from Baldacci. The protagonist of Colby Marshall's DOUBLE VISION, Dr Jenna Ramey, is gifted with synesthesia and the young woman aiding her has an even odder condition - she sees the world in numbers. Together they are after a serial killer, the Triple Shooter. Sharon Mensing thought the concept was interesting, but the execution fell a bit short in some areas.

We do expect the occult or paranormal from Charlaine Harris and there is some in the first book in her new trilogy, MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD, in which an on-line psychic has settled down in a small Texas town. PJ Coldren enjoyed this new direction. The women who go missing after attending meetings of a UFO believers club in Michael Blair's TRUE BELIEVERS might have been abducted by aliens, but PI Hack Loomis doubts it very much. Meredith Frazier found it an entertaining weekend's read. There's a polygamist Mormon cult in Shannon Baker's TATTERED LEGACY, but what Sharon Mensing most admired was the author's ability to render the power of the natural landscape of the desert Southwest.

Politics is at the heart of two novels from very different places. New Zealander Paul Thomas' FALLOUT has Maori police sergeant Tito Ihaka investigating the unsolved killing of a teenaged girl at an election-night party, while preoccupied with mysteries surrounding the death of his politically active father. Karen Chisholm has nothing but praise for this one. Christine Zibas was equally enthusiastic about Attica Locke's PLEASANTVILLE, in which a young girl's murder affects a mayoral race in which the city's first African-American candidate is running.

Martin Walker's THE RESISTANCE MAN, which marks chef de police Bruno Courrèges' eighth appearance, is a more traditional mystery than some, but one that Jim Napier enjoyed thoroughly. I thought that Elena Forbes' police procedural JIGSAW MAN was solidly written, but somehow too detached to engage the reader completely. And there's yet another police chief, this one a woman, in Artemis, Texas, scene of Tricia Fields' FIREBREAK.

Maisie Dodds is back for the eleventh time in A DANGEROUS PLACE, by Jacqueline Winspear. Ann Pearson enjoyed this for the most part, though she does wonder about some missing years in Maisie's life history.

Ben Neal approved on the whole of BUZZ KILL, a YA novel by Beth Fantaskey in which a high school student turns to Nancy Drew for inspiration when her father is suspected of murdering the football coach.

Since warmer days should be on their way sooner or later, it's time to start thinking about short stories, which seem to go so well with summer. Lawrence Block has edited the fourth in the HAVE A NYC series of short stories about New York City. But Deb Shoss warns that the general view is very dark indeed.

As we said before, the occupant of the seat over to your left in "Sixty Seconds With..." is TJ O'Connor, who also writes about detectives who aren't ghosts.

If you want to read more about what's happening in British crime, take a look at CRIMEREVIEW where our former colleagues can help.

And there you have it for now. Don't forget to come back in a couple of weeks to see what we've been reading.



P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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