Joe O’Riley's life has been one long string of bad luck. First his father, a famous and well-respected Memphis policeman, died in a senseless shooting. Later, when Joe was a rookie cop, his two best friends in the world who were about to be married were killed in a car accident. At the same time, the girl on whom Joe had a big crush mysteriously disappeared. Only Joe was left to mourn them all.
All his life Adam Baldwin has been groomed for a powerful position by his grandfather, the long time mayor of Memphis. Now in his seventh term as a U.S. Senator, he stands on the verge of achieving his lifelong dream: becoming his party’s nominee for the Presidential election. But all is not smooth going. A ruthless and conscienceless man, he’s greatly upset and angry when a gruesome incident in his past resurfaces, long after he’d thought himself safe from it.
Now a retired policeman, Joe O’Riley still takes an active interest in crime solving. A person involved in an experimental drug procedure comes to him with a fantastic tale. If he is to be believed, then O’Riley can at long last wrap up the unsolved case that has long haunted him. The incredibility of it all has O’Riley stumped. But when death and danger begin stalking this man, O’Riley takes charge, determined to ferret out the truth no matter what.
Bob Levy’s Past Tense begins slowly, even tragically. The pace soon picks up, however, and the gradually developing story takes an interesting though somewhat unbelievable turn. But this surprising revelation, while sizzling in nature, also has the negative effect of making the plotting too obvious and as a result tension and excitement start dwindling. The suspense mainly lies in the "where" rather than the "who". The novel's ending is also not very convincing; things are wrapped up too conveniently. What redeems this not so very suspenseful book is its fantastic premise. If it ever came true, it would be as mind-blowing as it would be frightening.