Sacrifice Fly: A Mystery by Tim O’Mara (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 320 pages)
“Noontime, and I’m still pushin’ myself along the road, the darkest part
Into the narrow lanes, I can’t stumble or stay put…” Bob Dylan, “I and I”
O’Mara Connects with Sacrifice Fly
Tim O’Mara’s debut novel Sacrifice Fly is one of the better mystery novels this reviewer has read in recent years.
Raymond Donne is a Brooklyn school teacher and former cop who becomes entangled in the disappearance of one of this students, Frankie Rivas, and his sister when their father is murdered. Donne, whose police career ended due to a freak injury, can’t resist his innate urges to play detective when he is disappointed with the actions of the men in blue. Donne gets in over his head, making for enough drama that his uncle, the chief of detectives, has to get involved to help bail him out.
The best aspect of the novel is the consistency of storytelling and voice from start to finish, which is not easy to pull off. The only blip here is the incident when Donne is on a date at a police gathering and lets some of his blue machismo surface unnecessarily. This is out of character for him and does not seem to fit.
Frankie is billed as a baseball phenom whose “way out” of the neighborhood is a scholarship to a local private high school baseball power that Donne helped him secure. However, this does not actually have much to do with the story, so any reader expecting a story focusing on baseball will likely be let down.
The story is told without pretense and it works. The reader gets a happy ending, though Donne himself is left dangling with the loose ends of his relationships and physical rehabilitation still in limbo, which screams for a sequel.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Tim O’Mara’s novels have only been released in hardback and Kindle and Nook Book editions, not in trade paperback versions.
Dave Moyer is an education administrator, and the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.