Death in Nostalgia City

By Mark S. Bacon

Bookin’ with Sunny review

 

A rol­licking good read! That’s how I would describe Mark S. Bacon’s novel, Death in Nos­talgia City. It’s a page turner, a fast-​​paced mystery that pits the good guys against the obvious bad guys with forceful but sat­is­fying results. Half way through Death in Nos­talgia City, the reader pretty much knows who’s guilty. Learning how all the pieces of the plot fit intri­cately together and watching the vil­lains’ attempts to avoid capture and pros­e­cution are what’s so enjoyable about reading Bacon’s thriller.

The setting plays a key role. Nos­talgia City is an adult theme park, built in the Arizona desert not far from old Route 66 and designed to attract the baby boomer gen­er­ation. The com­munity repli­cates the 1970s, with no signs of mod­ern­ization what­soever. Old gas pumps, old cash reg­isters, old movies, old music, even old amusement park rides. The only hint of the twenty-​​first century is an Indian casino just a few miles away, easily acces­sible by riding a nos­talgic old train. Bil­lionaire Max Maxwell has thought of every­thing to attract paying customers.

Death in Nos­talgia City opens with a series of unusual acci­dents. Sud­denly the idyllic scenery is filled first with wor­risome snags and then with fatal calamities. The theme park’s designer and financial guru, dis­sat­isfied with park security, asks Lyle Deming, an ex-​​Phoenix cop who works in Nos­talgia City as a taxi driver, to inves­tigate. Maxwell also hires Kate Sorenson, a Las Vegas public rela­tions spe­cialist, to counter the bad pub­licity that is driving cus­tomers away. Before long, Lyle and Kate are a team, working together to figure out who is behind the das­tardly deeds that are driving the cus­tomers away.

Lyle and Kate are a charming twosome, first deter­mining the cul­prits, then cal­cu­lating ways to trap the evil doers. As you can tell by my lan­guage, Death in Nos­talgia City is just plain fun. Even though there are several violent encounters, the rapid pace and the intricate machi­na­tions make the novel a delight, not a downer at all. Bacon plots well, char­ac­terizes well, and writes well. In addition, “Nos­talgia City” turns Dis­neyland into Magic Mountain into Dol­lywood into Wall Street into the mean streets of New York City, a winning collage of baby boomer fan­tasies and rem­i­nis­cences.  – Ann Ronald

Also available by Mark S. Bacon: Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words; The Cal­i­fornia Escape Manual.

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