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Jane Tesh
Gone Daddy Blues
Jane Tesh, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

PI David Randall has sworn off chasing deadbeat dads. But when he receives a message from the spirit of his deceased daughter, he has a change of heart. His hopes of closing the case quickly are complicated when his psychic sidekick, Camden, refuses to be psychic, and his pursuit of the gone daddy leads him to a serial killer with a yen for blond hair.
Tesh’s seventh book in the Grace Street Mystery series (after 2018’s Death by Dragonfly) fuses classic gumshoe legwork with mysterious hints from beyond the veil. When tough teenager Doreen Padgett asks private investigator David Randall to find her absent father, Randall is reluctant to track down yet another deadbeat dad. But after his own deceased daughter Lindsey contacts him and urges him to help, he agrees to take the case. As he searches for Arliss Padgett, Randall finds himself embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer. Randall must convince his friend Camden, a powerful but reluctant psychic, to re-embrace his powers and help track down the murderer.

The book’s fine-tuned details and smooth dialogue will transport readers to the center of the action. Randall’s point of view reveals not only the creative, methodical mind behind his sleuthing strategy, but also his sharp sarcasm and frequently critical, even harsh attitude towards others. Although he has compassion for Doreen and a deep love for his girlfriend Kary, some readers will be puzzled by Randall’s lack of empathy towards his friend Camden, as he continually badgers Camden to stop feeling sorry for himself and use his psychic powers to help with the case even though Randall himself feels similarly ambivalent about his detective work.

Despite his roadblock with Camden, Randall’s connections with the story’s other characters spice up the sleuthing. No lone wolf, he is assisted by Kary and other roommates and friends in his quest to find the elusive killer. The group’s tight-knit, if occasionally fraught, relationships feel authentic and familiar, and inside jokes and references to their past adventures abound. Readers familiar with these episodes from previous books in the series will feel like one of the gang. This well-paced, multifaceted mystery offers readers an engaging story with an exciting paranormal twist.

Takeaway: Part procedural, cozy mystery, and supernatural thriller, the latest Grace Street Mystery offers crime fiction fans much to love.

Great for fans of: L.L. Bartlett’s Jeff Resnick Mystery series, Scott William Carter’s Myron Vale Investigations series.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A