Go to Homepage   S.D. Tooley: Restless Spirit


Crescent Blues Book ViewsFull Moon Publications (Hardcover), ISBN 0966602161
S.D. Tooley created an interesting character with an exciting life and past in Sam Casey. Unfortunately, much of the information regarding this thrilling existence must be related in other books in the series, as it does not appear in this novel. Tooley merely hints at such intriguing mysteries as Sam's father's tragic end and her loving relationship with a husband she barely knows. While it can be tiresome for long-time readers of a series to reread the same passages of exposition in volume after volume, new readers will become frustrated as they try to piece together the back story of the characters, particularly if that story intrigues as much as the one Tooley alludes to.

Book: S D Tooley, restless spiritA piece of Sam's life and character that receives adequate attention is her clairvoyance. Sam picks up images from objects and can see past crimes as if on the scene, a useful talent for a police officer like Sam. Unfortunately, Sam has been suspended from the force, so when a button found in the woods behind a new housing development reveals the brutal slaying of a young woman, Sam must call on her old friends on the force to help her dig into the past. There Sam uncovers the 17-year-old murder of Catherine DeMarco.

Jake, Sam's enigmatic husband, remains unconvinced of the veracity her talents and of her theory about the old murder. The police solved the case, and the courts convicted their suspect, Jimmy Taggart. Taggart spent the intervening years on death row. Now his execution draws near. For Sam, the case still yawns open; the name Wy-Chin-Sky ran through her mind when she held the button, yet it appears nowhere in the case files. Sam's gut assures her that this person, not Taggart, killed Catherine, and with Jimmy's time running out, she feels she must hurry to solve the case.

Sam's perseverance in digging up old facts leads her to Paul Goddard, "Pit" for short, the head investigator in Catherine's murder. Pit never felt right about the conviction of Jimmy Taggart. Pit thought the clues and evidence seemed too easy and too obvious to be trusted. In Sam he finds a kindred soul, and the two go about dragging up the past to people who would rather forget it.

Book: S D Tooley, Nothing else matters
Faced with the impending hearing on her own suspension and the hostile relatives of both the victim and the convicted, Sam struggles to do what she knows in her heart to be right. Catherine's spirit, she feels, will never rest until the correct person receives punishment. Relying on her intuition and the wisdom and traditions of her Sioux heritage (often in the form of her mother, Abby) Sam faces all these challenges while eight months pregnant.

Aside from the lack of back-story, Restless Spirit engages the reader and possesses a gentle kindness. Sam's kind intuition and innate desire to help replaces the gritty, often overwhelming cynicism found in many mysteries. Sam's heritage informs her work, making her an interesting and sympathetic character, and one this reviewer looks forward to reading more about as I find previous books in the series.

Ceridwen Lewin

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