Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Summer reads full of murder, suspense & death

Skin of Tattoos
Christina Hoag
266 pages
Martin Brown Publishers, LLC  – Aug. 2016
Kindle $2.99  Trade paperback $12.95

When Cyco Lokos gang member Magdaleno (Mags) Argueta comes home to Los Angeles after serving prison time for a robbery, he wants nothing more than to start a new life. But there’s one obstacle: his old life.

Although he was framed by Rico, the new leader of the Cyco Lokos, Mags tries to let go of his bitterness and stay out of gang life for the sake of his Salvadoran immigrant family and his girlfriend Paloma.  But trying to integrate into society after a stint in prison doesn’t come easily.

Faced with low job prospects and Rico’s demands to help the Cyco Lokos make money, a broke and disillusioned Mags makes the only choice he can.  He soon discovers, however, that being a part of the Cyco Lokos with Rico in charge is far more dangerous than it used to be. Loyalties have shifted, including his own.  With his sister pregnant by a rival gang member and his own relationship with Paloma, his best friend’s sister, a violation of gang code, Mags becomes caught in a web of secrets, revenge, lies, and murder that might ultimately cost him everything.

Christina Hoag is a former staff writer for the Miami Herald and the Associated Press.  Her background is appropriate for a gang crime story.  As a journalist she was threatened by a killer’s girlfriend, had her laptop searched by Colombian guerrillas and phone tapped in Venezuela, was suspected of drug trafficking in Guyana, hid under a car to evade Guatemalan soldiers, and posed as a nun to get inside a Caracas jail. Visit her at


The Art of Fear (Little Things That Kill)
Pamela Crane
255 pages
Tabella House – July 2017
Kindle 99 cents  Trade paperback $12.99

A terrifying tale of small-town secrets and murder mark’s Pamela Crane’s new thriller. The author of several award-winning series offers puzzles surrounding an accident and suicide—or was murder involved?

Ari Wilburn’s life ended long ago—the day she watched her little sister die in a tragic accident and did nothing to stop it. Crippled with self-blame and resented by her parents, she stumbles through life … and onto an unexpected clue that casts doubt on whether the death was accidental.

Now a psychological wreck, Ari joins a suicide support group where she meets Tina, a sex-enslaved escapee who finds her long-lost father dead. Suicide, police ruled it. But Tina suspects foul play. As a bond develops between the women in their shared loss, they’re dragged into playing a dangerous game with a killer.

Faced with a murderous wake-up call and two possibly linked deaths, Ari’s investigation puts her next on the killer’s list. But she’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Needing closure, Ari must face her demons and the killer behind them … or lose everything she loves.

Pamela Crane juggles four kids, a writing addiction, horse rescuing and a job as a book editor.  Her characters and plots are her escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and she thrives off of an entertaining tale. Visit her at

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