Early in Tucker’s impressive first novel and series launch, NYPD Det. Buddy Lock receives a call from attorney Ray Sawyer, who’s representing 10-year-old Ben Brook, a member of a wealthy Manhattan family. Three days earlier, on New Year’s Eve, someone murdered Ben’s parents and his sister with a hatchet at their house in the family camp complex in the Adirondacks. Ben managed to elude the killer and phone 911. Sawyer, who’s now Ben’s guardian, begs Buddy to help find the killer. Buddy, whose own family broke up because of his excessive devotion to work, hesitates to take the case for fear of jeopardizing his relationship with his new girlfriend, Mei Adams. Nevertheless, after a failed attempt on Ben’s life, which results in another death, Buddy agrees to take charge of the investigation. Buddy’s battle of wits with the vicious killer keeps the excitement level high throughout. The surprise ending will leave readers impatiently awaiting Buddy’s next outing.
Starred Review, Published at PublishersWeekly.com
A detective is pressed into guarding a 10-year-old boy who's the last surviving member of his family.NYPD detective Buddy Lock is surprised when lawyer Ray Sawyer calls him and asks for his help solving the murder of a family upstate. Buddy's jurisdiction is limited to Manhattan, and though he's flattered that Ray would want his help, he doesn't think he knows anything that might solve the New Year's killings of virtually an entire branch of the wealthy Brook family. Even so, Buddy agrees to look into the case along with his brother Ward Mills, an expert in safe houses and human behavior. While they investigate Camp Kateri, the site of the murders, Ray is asked to care for the last remaining Brook, Ben, who somehow managed to escape while his parents and sister were killed. Whoever murdered the rest of Ben's family comes after him while he's in Ray 's care, and though Ben survives, the lawyer's wife is killed in the attack. Convinced that the killer will stop at nothing until he's dead, Ben begs Buddy to keep him safe. Buddy agrees to bring him to the home he shares with his girlfriend, Mei. The two work round-the-clock to care for Ben and keep him safe, and Mei bonds with the traumatized boy, offering him mothering while he's most vulnerable. Buddy and Ward do their part by researching the Brook family tree to find out who might have something to gain by killing the eponymous next of kin.
Direct and fast-paced, Tucker's debut takes readers on an adventurous ride that extends from questions about custody of a young charge to an art deal that may have its roots in the exploitation of Jews in World War II.
Published at kirkusreviews.com
Edina Executive Publishes Novel
As a full-time executive of one of Minnesota’s largest companies and parent to two small children, on paper, James Tucker doesn’t look like a typical novelist. But this Edina resident’s first novel, Next of Kin, was published last fall as the first in a two-book deal with a series to follow.
Even harder than securing a publishing deal may have been finding time to write the novel. This busy Target executive wrote much of the book on airplanes and at the Edina Library.
December 12, 2017 on Write On! Radio
In the second half of the show, we talk with James Tucker about his debut novel NEXT OF KIN, a Detective Buddy Lock mystery. He is a Minneapolis attorney who was awarded a fiction position at the Loft’s Mentor series and attended the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Tin House Writers’ Workshop in Portland.
Segment of James Tucker interview excerpted from December 12th broadcast of Write On! Radio
KFAI.org Write On! Radio episode overview
Minnetonka turns mysterious, building community around stories
The Minnetonka Barnes & Noble store in Ridgehaven Mall transformed into a scene from a Whodunit, when local mystery writers and enthusiasts convened for Land of 10,000 Mysteries, a celebration of the genre and the diverse Minnesotans who love it.
Event coverage at Lakeshore Weekly News online
Author James Tucker brings us a new kind of detective in his debut novel, NEXT OF KIN.
The Big Thrill recently checked in with Tucker to learn more about his exciting new tale of suspense.
Read the interview at The Big Thrill online
Interview on FOX 9 Morning Buzz
MN native & Target executive writes first novel
Watch the video (3:32)
Twin Cities native and Target executive James Tucker has added author to his resume with his first published novel, "Next of Kin." The book debuted October 17th, and it's already receiving praise from critics.
In debut novel, key to Edina author’s success is no mystery
More than 20 years after he was first inspired to write fiction, Edina resident James Tucker is finally a published author, a 370-page goal he reached despite staying busy with a demanding corporate career and two young children at home....
Read the rest at the Sun Current online
Published in the Sun Current Sept. 30, 2017