Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

Reading group guide for “The Marijuana Murders”

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Discussion questions

1.  How would you describe Kate’s relationship with Arthur Poole?  Does she act appropriately?

2.  The author mentions songs from the 1970s. Do these songs, and their artists, contribute to particular scenes or the overall focus of the book?  How important is the 1970s setting to the story?

3.  What factor’s influence the Nostalgia City CEO’s opinion of legalizing pot?

4.  Excluding Kate, how would you categorize the role of women in the book?

5.  How is the case for legalizing marijuana presented? Do you think the author has an opinion of legal pot?

6.  The author’s narrative technique is to alternate point-of-view chapters between Lyle and Kate. Was each character’s POV obvious with the change of chapters?

7.  When Arthur Poole says that heroin and cocaine are dangerous drugs it elicits laughs from his audience. Why is that? How does this establish what comes next at the public forum?

8.  This is a mystery. What was the biggest surprise in the book?

9.  How does the author differentiate the voices of the various characters? Is it effective?

10.  What do you think happened to Tony Guerra? Was the author specific enough for you about Guerra’s plight?

“Death in Nostalgia City” is library assn. selection

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Death in Nostalgia City was recommended this month for book clubs  by the American Library Association’s Book Club Central.

The book was selected for its fresh start theme.  In Death in Nostalgia City, one of my two protagonists is ex-cop Lyle Deming. His wife divorced him then he was dismissed from the police department, in part for his erratic behavior.  Anxiety is his default setting.  Desperate  for a stress-free job that has nothing to do with consoling murder victims’ families, Lyle becomes a cab driver—in a theme park.

Nostalgia City is no ordinary theme park.  Covering several square miles in central Arizona, the park is a re-creation of an entire small town from the mid-1970s. Peace and relaxation reigns–until someone starts sabotaging rides and killing tourists.
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Desert Kill Switch wins fiction award

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Desert Kill Switch just received the first prize for fiction in the 2018 Great Southwest Book Festival.  An awards dinner will be held in April to honor the winners of the competition.

The book is set in the fictional central Arizona county of San Navarro, in Las Vegas and in Reno, Nevada.  It begins with a body, found in the Arizona desert, that disappears once sheriff’s deputies get to the scene.  While the desert murder remains a mystery, the story moves from Arizona to Nevada.  Protagonists Kate Sorensen and Lyle Deming travel from Reno to Las Vegas and back to Reno searching for the person who murdered Vegas car dealer Alvin Busick. 

Sorensen is accused of Busick’s murder and must find the killer before the police find her.

The book is the second in the Nostalgia City Mystery Series that takes place in Nostalgia City, a  theme park that re-creates an entire small town from the mid-1970s.  The third book in the series, The Marijuana Murders, will be published soon by Black Opal Books.

Desert Kill Switch was also nominated for a Top Shelf Magazine Indie Award for books from small publishers.

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