Detective Sergeant Samantha (Sam) Casey is a Chicago area cop who receives visions from articles that belong to the dead. This is a "gift" she inherited from her Sioux mother Abby Two Eagles and her grandmother.
When Sam finds a button at a home construction site, she "sees" the brutal murder of teenager Catherine DeMarco that occurred 17 years ago.
In this third book, Sam is five-months pregnant, married to Chicago Detective (and former FBI Agent) Jake Mitchell, and while suspended from the police force because she is wrongly accused of killing a cop she is working as a Private Investigator.
Sam researches information about the 17-year old crime and interviews principal people to back up her vision with concrete clues. Time is running out because the man accused of the crime is slated to be executed in a month.
I like the Chase Dagger Mysteries that S.D. Tooley also writes much better than this series; the story and characters in the Chase Dagger series are more interesting for me. The characters in the Sam Casey Mysteries seem trite and cliched by contrast, for example, the description of the newspaper receptionist and the dead girl's parents. I also didn't like Jack's smoking habit. A strange choice of habit for a character you are supposed to be sympathetic toward. Also, I believe this book cannot stand alone and would be understood better by a reader who has read the series in sequence. Because I did not know what had gone on previously (it had been awhile since I read the first book and never read the second book), it took me a third of the way into this book to start caring about the story or characters in "Restless Spirit."
This book has very depressing characters like Goddard, the child abuse case subplot, and Jake's own history of being abused as a child. Not that I want to read books that are all sweetness and light but maybe it was because I had no context. Also, Jake's over protectiveness of Sam bothered me as well. Until authors make a story where the wife is overprotective of a husband who has a dangerous job, I don't like the 1950s attitude of mis-placed protectiveness for the little woman mentality. And Frank, Jake's police partner, talks jokingly about "controlling his wife." Come on…I prefer stories that are more progressive than that! This story takes place in the 21st century. Additionally, Jake is "tight-lipped" about his personal life and for 3/4 of the book doesn't believe Sara's visions can be of any help. So WHY has Sara even married him, I wonder. Apparently lovemaking is enough for Sara and helps Jake "relieve his tension" but I am a reader who want to see this relationship have better communication. Again, maybe I need more back story to appreciate their relationship.
Against the backdrop of the city of Chasen Heights condemning a neighborhood, claiming eminent domain, and revitalizing the area by building a youth center on the site of the former Embers Hotel, S.D. Tooley's story weaves a paranormal mystery.
While chasing a cat, Jake Mitchell (Sam Casey's husband) and his partner Frank find a mummified female body in the vacant Embers Hotel slated for demolition. They both are working on temporary assignment with Animal Control in retaliation for pissing off Police Chief Dennis Murphy. Jake calls his wife, the former Sgt. Samantha (Sam) Casey (now a private P.I.) to the scene to see if she can get any visions from the dead body. Sam, who sees visions from the dead, finds a locket on the body and does indeed receives some clues, but nothing conclusive.
Police Chief Murphy, who is running for mayor, considers the Jane Doe a low priority since it is a cold case but this dramatically changes when the mummified young women turns out to be Murphy’s old girlfriend.
I quickly grew tired of the "baby dicks" nickname for rookie homicide detectives that Tooley uses throughout this book. Also, practically all the men at one time or another “heft their cheek” on the side of someone's desk to sit. Do all these detectives need to get physically fit? These clichés just grow tiresome.