The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker
The crusading investigative reporter as hero has been a crime fiction staple from the pulps to Gregory McDonald’s sardonic Fletch. Recently, former journalists Bruce DeSilva and Brad Parks have recently added to the genre, addressing changes in the profession. Now, Neely Tucker comes onto the scene with Sully Carter, a reporter from Washington D.C. of the 1990s.
The story kicks off with the murder of a powerful judge’s teenage daughter and the arrest of three gang youths. Sully, covering the story, has doubts about their guilt. So does Sly, the local gang lord. Soon the two are working with one another, Sully for the story and Sly for revenge (which puts Sully in an odd moral position). The investigation links D.C.’s streets of the disenfranchised to it’s corridors of power with murder, illicit sex, and old secrets.
The character of Sully makes the book ring. He’s a man in transition. Returning from war torn countries that haunt him, he approaches his stateside stories and life with a different view. This is brought to light beautifully when he first encounters Sly, demonstrating what he knows and doesn’t know about him. Tucker captures the character with a loose approach that works as a perfect counterpoint to his tight structure.
The Ways of the Dead is strong addition to the newspaper thriller. It is an involving book that looks at the divide of the city’s social strata. Tucker gives us an involving and engaging meditation of the many meaning of “knowledge is power”.
Neely Tucker will read from & sign his new novel here at BookPeople on Monday, June 23th at 7PM. You can pre-order signed copies of The Ways of the Dead now via bookpeople.com, or find a copy on our shelves in-store.