Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Nostalgia City Mystery #4

Mind-bending technology stolen
Is its creator on the run
, dead?

The entire $22 billion US theme park industry is about to be eclipsed by breathtaking new technology. The Perception Deception Effect will rocket Arizona’s Nostalgia City theme park decades ahead of the competition—and possibly alter the way we view what is real and what isn’t.  But the secret technology is missing. And so is its scientist creator.

As Lyle goes undercover to investigate competing theme parks, Kate must investigate a death at the park. A movie company is shooting a Vietnam era crime story at the park’s 1970s town and an actor is found dead.

Lyle sweats out his investigation in Florida—hot and humid enough to peel wallpaper—when his cover is blown and he’s on the run.  

Kate and Lyle have little time to explore their nascent relationship as both their investigations turn deadly, threatening them and the future of Nostalgia City.

A Favorite Book of 2021
Kings River Life Magazine
“A noirish look at industrial espionage and murder in the world of amusement parks.”
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Nostalgia City Mystery #3

Legalizing marijuana
becomes deadly business

Nostalgia City executive Kate Sorensen finds the body of a mechanic crushed under an automobile hoist in the theme park’s garage.  Accident or murder?  Will it impact Kate’s decision to become an advisor for one of two competing campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona?

When the death is ruled a homicide and the DEA stages a surprise raid, park cab driver Lyle Deming is recruited to help solve the murder and find out if the park’s garage is being used to smuggle drugs. The anxiety-ridden ex-cop is soon poking around a Mexican border town looking for a park contractor who might be a drug mule. Or he might be dead.

Meanwhile, Kate, a 6-2 former college basketball star, is in the middle of a heated clash between potential corporate control of pot marketing and the laid-back, grow-your-own approach. As Kate wonders whether she should mediate or advocate, she’s forced to dash for her life. Amid setbacks and threats, she and Lyle must sort through interwoven crimes, a tangle of evidence, and dark suspects.

Then there’s another murder.

While they explore their nascent relationship, Kate and Lyle must move quickly through a tangle of motivations for legalizing pot until they can solve the murders.   

The Marijuana Murders is the third novel in this mystery series set in Nostalgia City, a theme park that re-creates—in every detail—a small town from the 1970s.

“Mark S. Bacon deftly blends nostalgia and crime.  If you’re looking for a mystery that touches on today’s issues while harking back to earlier eras, The Marijuana Mysteries does so in a fast pace with humor and style.”

Debbi Mack, New York Times bestselling author of the Sam McRae Mystery Series

“Through it all, Mark Bacon keeps the pace fast-moving, the descriptions vivid,  the setting unusual, the lead players interesting, the plot intriguing, and the surprises coming. You want more in a murder mystery?”

Dr. Wesley Britton,
author of Onscreen and Undercover and the  Beta-Earth Chronicles

“With an effortlessly transitioning plot-line, the suspense just built and built as the story progressed, right up until the exciting and nail-biting conclusion. I just had to keep turning those pages and I didn’t guess the identity of the perpetrators in this fantastic mystery.

“…I loved the chemistry and tenderness between the main characters, Kate Sorensen and Lyle Deming. I liked Kate’s unwavering loyalty, fearlessness and determination. For his part, theme park cab driver and ex-cop Lyle, though anxiety-ridden, was tireless in his dogged pursuit of the truth.

“If you’re looking for a truly explosive read, then I heartily recommend The Marijuana Murders.”

Brianne’s Book Reviews

Nostalgia City Mystery #2

Deadly Vegas chase:
450 miles to Reno…with a twist

On an empty desert road, stressed-out ex-cop Lyle Deming finds a bullet-riddled body next to a mint-condition 1970s Pontiac Firebird. When he returns to the scene with sheriff’s deputies: no car, no body. Does the answer lie in Nostalgia City where Lyle works? The Arizona retro theme park re-creates—in every detail—an entire small town from the early 1970s. 

Nostalgia City VP Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star, is in Nevada on park business when she gets mixed up with a sleazy Las Vegas auto dealer who puts hidden “kill switches” and GPS trackers in cars he sells—mainly to low-income buyers.  Miss a payment—sometimes by as little as a few days—and your car is dead.  Maybe you are, too.

When Kate’s accused of murder in Reno, Lyle arrives to help his blonde, not-quite-girlfriend and they plow through a deadly tangle of suspects and motives.

Kate and Lyle hit one dead end after another as they struggle to exonerate Kate, catch a blackmailer, save a witness’s life, and help find the missing corpse. 

This book received the top fiction award in the 2018 Great Southwest Book Festival and was a Top Shelf Magazine Indie Award nominee.

Read sample chapters here.


“Desert Kill Switch is a well written whodunit that was a blast to read. The author masterfully brings the 1970’s to life again, laced with a wickedly suspenseful whodunit.”

–Robin Thomas

“Bacon’s second book about Arizona ex-cop Lyle Deming and theme park VP Kate Sorensen delivers nostalgia with a twist.  …Straight out of classical detective fiction…told at a fun, engine-revving pace.”
–Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

“Bacon’s prose is slick, his dialogue taut, and he makes great use of short chapters to tempt the reader to keep turning those pages. His creation of Nostalgia City, a 1970s retro theme park,  is a stroke of genius!”

–Mark Campbell
Promoting Crime (UK)

This book is a gritty, fast-paced, and quick read; especially quick because it’s difficult to put the book aside after reading the first few pages. The characters are engaging. The plot has plenty of twists and turns, lots of suspects and motives, and…a missing vintage car and a missing corpse.

–Cherie Jung
OverMyDeadBody. com

More reviews on the next page, here.


Listen to an interview with Mark S. Bacon on KNPR


Nostalgia City Mystery #1

Enjoy your Nostalgia City visit;
Most guests come home alive

Ex-cop Lyle Deming is on edge. That’s been his default setting for years, but his new job, driving a cab in a theme park, promises to cure his chronic anxieties. Nostalgia City is the ultimate resort for anyone who wants to visit the past. A meticulous recreation of an entire small town from the 1970s, it’s complete with period cars, music, clothes, hair styles, shops, restaurants, hotels–the works.

The festive, theme-park atmosphere is just what Lyle needs to relax and shed his reputation as a nut job.  But when  rides are sabotaged and tourists killed, the park founder, billionaire “Max” Maxwell, drafts Lyle into investigating—unofficially.   As the violence escalates and employees get rattled, Lyle gets help. Kate Sorensen, the park’s PR director–and a former college basketball player with lots of moxie–becomes another incognito investigator. But she’s 6’ 2½” and drop-dead gorgeous. So much for incognito.

Together, Lyle and Kate must unravel a conspiracy of corporate greed and murder.

To read sample chapters, click here and scroll down.

Death in Nostalgia City is a fascinating mystery set in a highly authentic world of 60s & 70s nostalgia – and the story works compellingly on both levels. It’s an excellent read that’s loaded with iconic touchstones of ‘60s-‘70s pop culture – music, fashion, TV, movies. Death in Nostalgia City is a blast!”

–Dick Bartley – host of radio’s “The Classic Countdown” and “Rock & Roll’s Greatest Hits”

“Bacon handles a complicated story well, giving us realistic characters in bad trouble. By the end of the book, he ties it all up in a satisfying conclusion. Death In Nostalgia City has good characters, a fast-moving story, complicated twists, and a great climax.”

–Todd Borg, best-selling author of the Owen McKenna Tahoe mysteries series

 “There isn’t an ounce of fat in this novel. Bacon’s prose is clean, crisp and lightning fast. The plot moves like a theme park ride. Death in Nostalgia City is a spectacular read (five stars out of five).

“The function of nostalgia—re-framing stressful times through a sepia lens—serves as the novel’s clever subtext. Should conflicts of the past be reconciled, or simply glossed over with a comfortable, sanitized version of what never really was?”

–Brian Kaufman, author; reviewer, Rabbit Hole Reviews

“Bacon has created a unique theme resort and world-class mystery in Death in Nostalgia City.  Like amusement park attractions that offer immersive experiences, this novel will transport you to seemingly safe and sterile streets of another time . . . only those streets are not necessarily safe.  If action and suspense are your idea of a fun vacation, put this must-read novel on your travel itinerary.”

–Jim Hillman, author, Amusement Parks
  Director, National Amusement Park Historical Association


Destination Mystery Podcast with Laura Brennan

Listen to interview with Mark S. Bacon





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