Post Mortem Press
Published August 11, 2011
Trade Paperback, 294 pages
I unexpectedly liked this book more than I thought I would. Author James V. O'Connor managed to pull me in with a story that deals with work ethics, extramarital affairs and personal integrity.
Ted McCormick, a professional home organizer, thinks he's a happily married man to his beautiful wife, Mary, of 12 years. However, he's caught off guard when he's attracted to one of his female clients, Janet, a single mom who was recently divorced. Janet is fun, attractive and imaginative. She's also intuitive and flirtatious, giving Ted plenty of opportunities to make the first move. Meanwhile, Ted is also hired by Jim Smith for a big project to purge the huge Victorian house of Smith's deceased and once eccentric father. Smith has reasons to believe he will find a treasure in his father's cluttered and spooky house. The mystery builds as Ted and his team deal with weird rooms and strange noises.
Right off the bat, I didn't care for Ted's wife Mary, and I knew something was wrong with their marriage even though they treated each other well. On the other hand, I instantly liked Ted and Janet, and of course, I was torn because I could see how Ted, who was faithful and loyal, was beginning to have an emotional affair with Janet even as he battled with his physical attraction to her.
There was a lot of sexual tension throughout the book. It was so palpable. I wondered why Ted didn't run home and make love to his wife. Throughout the two months that the story takes place, they only made love once! A healthy couple with no kids? I wondered why Ted didn't clue in that something was wrong. Ted's wife is beautiful, he (and other men) find her attractive, he claims to love her and is faithful to her, yet doesn't really question why they barely make love although he's obviously sexually frustrated?
A friend once told me that her Italian grandmother used to say, “Don't question where a man gets his appetite, as long as he comes home to eat.” Well, Ted's appetite was definitely stimulated, but he rarely ate at home. No wonder he was starving! Sexual relations within a marriage is a sign of love, good communication, and a healthy relationship. Ted seemed a little naive not to have figured that out in his passionless relationship with his wife. But besides Ted's lack of perception, he was such a likable character, I could easily see how women were attracted to him.
I raced through the last half of the book, wondering if Ted would find any treasure in Smith's house and in his own life as he faced his marital problems. The two situations (Ted's love entanglement and his job with the Victorian house) merge as the story builds in suspense and tension. The plot was well developed and comes to a satisfying and unexpected ending. O'Connor skillfully keeps the reader emotionally engaged and succeeds in creating a story that explores the value of morality in all relationships, whether marital, parental or work-related. This book would engender a good discussion for book clubs. It also motivated me to organize my house better!
Note: There are two explicit sex scenes in this novel and two instances of religious expletives.
Disclosure: Thanks to O'Connor Communications for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.