Week Five: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts

Imma be honest with y’all. I’ve put this review off for days because I’m not really sure what to say about this oddly-charming book. I’ve read what a lot of other people have to say about it, looking for inspiration, but I don’t *quite* agree with any of them. So. I guess I will ramble and hope that in the end, it makes sense.

Tuesday Mooney is an adventure novel of sorts, and a coming-of-age story and a romance. It’s a story of loss, and also of change, of reinvention. It has a linear narrative, but the game at the center of it all manages to both be the focus of the book, and yet also not quite the point.

A dying billionaire sends one woman and a cast of dreamers and rivals on a citywide treasure hunt in this irresistible novel.

Tuesday Mooney is a loner. She keeps to herself, begrudgingly socializes, and spends much of her time watching old Twin Peaks and X-Files DVDs. But when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s most eccentric billionaire, dies, leaving behind an epic treasure hunt through the city with clues inspired by his hero Edgar Allan Poe, Tuesday’s real life adventure begins.

So, let’s start with Tuesday, who is described as what would’ve happened if Wednesday Addams had grown up to be a researcher. Dressed all in black, with a sardonic wit and goth sensibility, Tuesday spends her day stalking…err…researching potential donors for the hospital where she works. When an eccentric billionaire dies at a fundraiser where Tuesday is working, she finds herself drawn into his last wish—a scavenger hunt, with untold riches as the prize for the person (or team) who can find all the clues.

Joining Tuesday is Archie, the black sheep son of a local billionaire who disappeared under very mysterious circumstances six years ago; Tuesday’s sort-of best friend Dex, a frustrated theater nerd turned accountant; and her precocious 14-year-old neighbor, Dorry, who is grieving the still-too-recent loss of her mother.

Everyone in the book has a reason for wanting the money, but everyone also has a secret, which makes the reasons they are playing the game much less straightforward. And no one ends the book the same person they were at the beginning.

The book was enjoyable, and well-written. I was concerned that it would be a retread of Ready Player One, but it really could not have been more different. The danger in RPO was real, and physical, as people literally fought to the death for the prize. The dangers here are much more esoteric, and internal. Grief, and loss, are at the forefront in many ways.

In the end, I was left wanting. This was absolutely Tuesday’s story, but the other characters were interesting in their own right, and yet they did not get nearly as much page-time. I wanted to see more of Dorry, and her growth from sad little girl to strong, if slightly disillusioned, young woman. I wanted to have a better resolution for Archie. I wanted to know what happened with Dex and his sort-of boyfriend. I wanted all of the characters to have a strong conclusion, and I didn’t get that. Maybe that was part of the point, that life is messy and rarely do we get clean, neat resolutions.

Having said that, it was wildly entertaining, and twisty, and fun.

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