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Summary

Welcome to Felicity Grove....

This upstate New York village is as small as it is peaceful. But somehow, Jonathan Kendrick's eccentric grandma, Anna, always manages to find trouble. Crime, scandal, you name it...this wheel-chair-bound senior citizen is involved. So, when the phone rings at four a. m. in Jonathan's New York City apartment, he knows to expect some kind of dilemma. But Anna's outdone herself this time. She's stumbled across a dead body in her trash can.

©1999 Tom Piccirilli (P)2018 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about The Dead Past

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable mystery

The first in a two book series featuring Jonathan Kendrick and his grandmother Anna and a bit of amateur sleuthing.

Small New York village setting, a family history and back story featuring alcoholism, murder, life-changing injuries, bereavement, marriage, divorce, betrayal, jail time, a dog, a maybe new romance, football, - and that's without mentioning the body in the dustbin.

I quite liked the two main characters, their bonds and their shared history and their inability to leave things alone when they feel the local police chief isn't working the case properly and has something to hide. The chief's deputy, an old school friend of Jonathan's isn't averse to Kendrick and Anna sticking their nose in and is happy enough discussing the investigation amidst his own concerns about his boss.

Quite a busy book with the backstories woven into the narrative. I enjoyed the small town setting where everyone seems to know everyone else; where some characters have evolved and have seen the wider world and the contrast with others who have never left the town and who hark back to the glory of their school and college days when they were a minor somebody.

The investigation gets complicated when another body appears at the same location with a different murder method.

Enjoyable enough, no real annoyances or irritation while listening to the audio book, neither was I ever overly excited or left breathless by a turn of phrase or a descriptive passage. It just did it's job by holding my interest throughout and providing a plausible outcome to the questions that needed answering.

Author Tom Piccirilli sadly died in 2015. He's left behind a decent body of work in multiple genres - crime, horror, mystery and thriller. I've read him previously, before I started blogging - The Cold Spot and F***in' Lie Down Already - and I look forward to reading more from him in the future.

3.5 from 5

Read - (listened to) August, 2020
Published - 1997
Page count - 226 (5 hrs 35 mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format - Audible

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Profile Image for Elizabeth O.
  • Elizabeth O.
  • 06-12-19

Cozy Mystery

The protagonist comes home because his only living relative, his granny, Ann, asked him to come. A dead body was found on her land and she wants him to assist in finding out what happened. He complies, he returns to his home town where he gets along with the deputy and despises the sheriff. He meets both new people & old school chums as he attempts to resolve the mystery.

Tom Piccirilli has a very distinct writing style. He is humorous. His protagonist do a lot of ruminating. His dialogue is quite natural. Combine all these and his characters become well fleshed out.

The narrator is skilled & gifted. He does a nice granny’s (Ann’s) voice. However, his voice sounds older than the protagonist who is around 29yrs. old.

Also, if hearing impaired, Daniel Dorse’s voice is slightly difficult to hear on the highways. The frequency is close to highway sounds so raising the volume on hearing aids or speakers doesn’t help much. His voice is very relaxing, warm & velvety. Quite nice in a quite environment.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Beatrice
  • 31-03-18

meh

I didn't like it. The characters keep referencing other mysteries and adventures. This bothered me because this is a supposed to be the first book in the series. After a fee chapters I skipped to the end. I also didn't like the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 16-06-22

Charming

I received this book for free. I am voluntarily posting this review and any opinions expressed herein are my own.

I am actually closer to 3.5 than four stars so I gave this a four as I did not think it deserved a three-star rating.

This is a cozy mystery - having all of the elements of a cozy - small town, nosey main characters, incompetent law enforcement, etc. At times this cozy is downright charming, has some touching moments between the main characters [grandmother and grandson], with some very humorous/witty moments. However, the author also threw in a lot of events - and not just backstory on the characters but other cases which the MC and his grandmother previously solved - summed up in a few short sentences or a brief paragraph. It happened so often that I ended up checking several times whether this was actually the first book in the series as I felt that I was missing something - I wasn't, this is the first book.

The narrator, Daniel Dorse, does a good job but narrates slowly. I ended up speeding up the narration.

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  • adam james
  • 08-06-22

Pic does it again

I got into Piccirilli’s writing from the horror side of things and The Dead Past isn’t like any of that at all! I’m constantly amazed by how much skill this guy had, amazing book. Just wish there was more.

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  • Cyndi
  • 21-01-22

Does the past influence the future?

This is the first book I have listened or read by this author and I found it quite interesting. Anna is the wheel chair bound 68 year old grandmother of Jonathan. Jonathan is a big city book store owner specializing in old first editions of books. When Jonathan gets a call from his grandmother in the early morning hours he knows something is wrong. With lots of suspense and second guessing of who the guilty party is, leads to a great beginning to a new series. I enjoy the rapport between Jonathan and Anna, they are much closer than family members sometimes are as they have gone through horrible things together. I will be looking up more books by Tom Piccirilli. I received a free code for this book from Audiobooks Unleashed to listen to on Audible. This review is my own honest opinion.

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  • Blackeagle
  • 11-07-21

Secrets and Murder in Felicity Grove

Tom Piccirilli has done it again with this book of intricate tales of secrets and lies that lead to murder. The storyline was well written that has a twisted mystery with an ending that was to say the least shocking. Daniel Dorse is an absolutely phenomenal narrator always bringing life and emotions into the characters. I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers.

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  • Linda L.
  • 04-04-21

Basic murder mystery

There wasn't anything outstanding about this book. It was a basic cozy murder mystery story. I had a tough time following the beginning of the story. I think that was partially due to the narrator. Not bad, but certainly not a great mystery.

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  • DDJTJ
  • 01-03-21

GOOD START TO WHAT I HOPE IS A LONG SERIES

JONATHAN KENDRICK, mild mannered bookstore owner that is until his grandmother Anna calls him back home to help her solve a murder. As the bodies keep piling up, Jonathan keeps searching for the murderer

Tom Piccirili,s THE DEAD PAST from page one right to the end of the book gives us a well structured mystery with characters right out of your home town.The plot kept me guessing right up to the moment when Jonathan confronts the killer.
As for narration , I was not as impressed. At the start of the book it seems like the narrator was slow and not very distinct in his narration,but as it went on he did much better.

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  • JM
  • 27-08-20

It Was Good

I enjoyed this little cozy mystery, it had good characters and story line, I especially liked the dialogue between Anna [Jonathan's Grandma] and the sheriff. Daniel Dorse did a fine job narrating. I received this audio book free for my voluntary review, Thank You!

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  • Susan Patterson
  • 16-07-20

Twists and turns!

Dead bodies and a twist at the end hold your attention throughout.

Daniel Dorse did a good job narrating and bring the characters to life.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.