Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

About mbaconauthor

Mystery writer and journalist; former newspaper police reporter.

A trio of mystery, suspense, thrills


Tahoe Payback  (Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller)
Todd Borg
352 pages
Thriller Press   August 2017
Kindle $4.99  Trade paper $12.34

The fifteenth Owen McKenna mystery at Lake Tahoe looks at scam charities. When a man tells Tahoe Detective Owen McKenna that his girlfriend disappeared, McKenna wonders if the woman got cold feet and ran away. But when she turns up murdered on Lake Tahoe’s Fannette Island with red roses in her mouth, McKenna discovers that she used a scam charity to steal millions.  A second victim is found with a tennis ball crammed into his mouth. A third has military medals in his cheeks. McKenna suspects that these victims also ran fraudulent charities.

While McKenna investigates the murders, his girlfriend Street Casey has reason to believe that her ex-con father, who’s jumped parole, wants revenge for her testimony that put in him in prison decades ago.  

It appears that the victims are all payback targets of a vigilante killer. McKenna finds lots of potential suspects. But he can’t link any of them to the crimes. What he doesn’t know is that both he and his girlfriend are about to face someone who wants them very dead.


Tahoe local Todd Borg is the bestselling author of 15 Owen McKenna Mystery Thrillers. Borg’s novels have won the Ben Franklin Award for Best Mystery of the Year, made Library Journal’s Top 5 Mysteries of the Year list, received rave reviews, including a starred review in Library Journal, and made Amazon’s Mystery/Thriller and Private Investigator Bestseller Lists multiple times.   Borg’s books have over 500,000 paper books and ebooks in distribution.  He was selected as the toastmaster for the 2018 Left Coast Crime convention.


The Red Queen Rules: A Red Solaris Mystery Vol.3
Bourne Morris
246 pages
Henery Press   December 2016
Kindle $4.99  Trade paper $15.95

 This third installment of the Red Solaris series proves again that anyone who thinks a college campus is a haven of scholarship and civility hasn’t been paying attention.

Is it free speech or hate? When a white supremacist schedules an event on campus, University Dean Red Solaris must confront her own feelings about an issue that challenges the very core of American education: campus safety versus freedom of speech.

Amidst escalating tension, Red meets with the editor of the student newspaper – who also confides in Red that her young cousin is missing, probably a victim of local sex traffickers. Agreeing to rescue the girl, Red solicits help from her beloved detective Joe Morgan. But when Morgan goes undercover into the dangerous world of human trafficking, he disappears without a trace. Red must balance her fears for Morgan with her worries that a campus riot may soon break out.

The Red Queen Rules is also available as an MP3 CD.


After Bennington College, Bourne Morris worked at McCall’s Magazine and then the New York advertising agency of  Ogilvy & Mather.  She rose through the ranks from copywriter to head of the agency’s Los Angeles office serving clients that included Mattel, Columbia Pictures, General Foods cereals and Baskin-Robbins.  Later she became a professor of journalism at the University of Nevada- Reno where she taught marketing communications and media ethics.  She was also chair of the university’s faculty senate where she learned about campus politics and tensions.


Illegal Holdings
Michael Niemann
230 pages
Coffeetown Press  Mar. 1, 2018
Kindle $6.95  Trade paper $12.37

UN fraud investigator Valentin Vermeulen is on assignment in Maputo, Mozambique. His ho-hum task is to see if Global Alternatives is spending UN money the way they promised. The nonprofit was set up by hedge fund mogul Vincent Portallis to revolutionize development aid. The only upside for Vermeulen is the prospect of seeing his lover Tessa Bishonga, who is reporting on foreign land acquisitions in Africa.

When Vermeulen notices that a five-million-dollar transfer has gone missing, he is given the run-around. First he is told the files have been mislaid, then stolen, then he is assured that the money was never transferred to begin with. But the money was transferred, so where is it now? Vermeulen’s dogged pursuit of the missing transfer makes him the target of some ruthless operators. And once he meets up with Tessa, she is inevitably sucked in to the story as well, which turns out to be far more nefarious than either of them imagined.


Michael Niemann grew up in a small town in Germany, ten kilometers from the Dutch border. Crossing that border often at a young age sparked in him a curiosity about the larger world. He studied political science at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität in Bonn and international studies at the University of Denver. During his academic career he focused his work on southern Africa and frequently spent time in the region. After taking a fiction writing course from his friend, the late Fred Pfeil, he switched to mysteries as a different way to write about the world.

Editor’s note:  Prices for the above books may vary depending on the retailer and when you access sales sites.  Click on the book covers for more information.


Today’s mystery flash fiction


The term flash fiction describes exceedingly short stories.  How short?  That depends on who is defining the term.   Some writers and editors put the length at 1,000 words or more while others say flash fiction is but a handful of words.  I prefer the discipline of telling a complete story in precisely 100 words.  Here’s an example:


Investigation Closed

Felix and Cheryl exchanged glances as they walked in their front door to see police officers going through cabinets, closets and drawers.

“Are you the Perkins?” asked a detective.

“Yeah,” Felix said, looking around.

“Please sit over there,” the detective said. The couple sat silently and watched.

An hour later: “We found the heroin shipment,” an officer said.

“How did you know?” Felix asked.

“We didn’t,” the detective said. “My partner wanted to quit earlier, but then we realized you didn’t say anything. Most people who come home to find the police nosing around would ask us what we’re doing.”

Winter blahs? Try a good mystery


Dames Fight Harder – Maggie Sullivan Mysteries, Volume 6
M. Ruth Myers
321 pages
Tuesday House  Nov. 12, 2017
Kindle $3.99   Trade paper $12.99

Shamus award winning writer Myers brings out her sixth Maggie Sullivan mystery.  The series started in the 1930s.  It’s now 1942 in Dayton, Ohio.

Murderer or independent woman? Murder at a construction site draws Ohio private investigator Maggie Sullivan into a case that makes cops mistrust her and friends doubt her. The suspect, Rachel Minsky, is Maggie’s closest friend – and all signs point to Rachel’s guilt.

Rachel ignores the rules society imposes on women. That independence, in 1942, as well as her success in business, has made her enemies. Yet the dead man also had an unsavory secret or two, starting with his missing mistress. Who was the murderer’s real target? And what is Rachel hiding from the only person who can save her?

The city Maggie scours for clues to the real killer has been altered by America’s recent entry into World War II. Shortages of men and material have created new motives for murder. As the case and Maggie’s relationship with policeman Mick Connelly heat up, Maggie finds herself caught in currents that threaten to drown her.

M. Ruth Myers, author of more than a dozen books, was a newspaper reporter in Michigan and Ohio. Her books have been translated into seven languages. She earned the Shamus Award in 2014 for Don’t Dare A Dame, the third book in her Maggie Sullivan series.  Find Myers at


The Art of Vanishing, A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery (Book 2)
Cynthia Kuhn
262 pages
Henery Press  Feb. 28, 2017
Kindle $2.99    Trade paperback $15.95

Cynthia Kuhn’s latest book is the second in her academic mystery series.  The first book in the series, The Semester of our Discontent, received the Agatha Award.

When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.

Cynthia Kuhn is professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and current president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado. The Art of Vanishing was a a Lefty Award nominee for best humorous Mystery. The third in the series, The Spirit in Question, will be out in the fall.  Visit her at


Clarissa Goenewan
336 pages
Soho Press   March 6, 2018
Kindle $14.99  Hardback $25

Set in an imagined town outside Tokyo, Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, literary debut follows a young man’s path to self-discovery in the wake of his sister’s murder.
Ren Ishida has nearly completed his graduate degree at Keio University when he receives news of his sister’s violent death. Keiko was stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, failing to understand why she chose to turn her back on the family and Tokyo for this desolate place years ago.

But then Ren is offered Keiko’s newly vacant teaching position at a prestigious local cram school and her bizarre former arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s ailing wife. He accepts both, abandoning Tokyo and a crumbling relationship there in order to better understand his sister’s life and what took place the night of her death.

Clarissa Goenewan is a debut novelist.  She is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, the UK, and the US.  Goenewan’s website home is:


Editor’s note:  Prices for the above books may vary depending on the retailer and when you access sales sites.  Click on the book covers for more information.


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