ForeWord Reviews

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When the Dead Speak

Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 1999

When a gruesome corpse is exposed after a semi-truck hits a cement pillar along the freeway system in a suburb of Chicago, the detectives assigned to the case have no idea what dangers they face or how much corruption they will uncover-or even how high up the political ladder the investigation will take them.

At first the case seems too flimsy to even be solvable, having only two known facts: that the corpse, one Harvey Wilson, was reported AWOL from his unit in Korea over forty years ago, and that clasped in his hand is a gold pin shaped like a lightning bolt. There are too many questions and seemingly not enough answers-until Detective Sergeant Samantha Casey uses her special gift inherited from her Native American mother: discovering things about a person by touching them; but unlike her mother’s gift with the living, Sam’s gift is with the dead.

When touching the corpse and pin, Sam smells and senses the exact same things she had experienced when handling another lightning bolt pin-found in a safe at the home of State Representative Preston Hilliard while working on a completely different case. And the plot thickens when she finds a third identical pin in her deceased father’s jewelry box. Where did he, an investigative reporter, get the pin? What was the exact nature of the story he had been working on at the time of his own gruesome death years ago? And where does Representative Hilliard fit in to all this? The truth to Sam’s past can only be unlocked if she and her partners can put the pieces of the puzzle together before whoever is hell-bent on keeping secrets buried succeeds.

Exciting and fast-paced from the very first pages, When the Dead Speak grabs hold of readers; thrusting them into a story filled with intrigue, plot twists, humor, a bit of romance and Native American mysticism. Tooley’s excellent debut novel of mystery and suspense, with its unforgettable characters and vivid story, shows the depth of research into not only police investigation, but Native American culture as well. A grand opening indeed to her Sam Casey series, mystery and suspense buffs can look forward to more crime-solving in Book Two, Nothing Else Matters, due out in bookstores near the end of the year.

Nelly Heitman