Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

Background music for a mystery novel?


One of the earliest private eye television series was Peter Gunn.   It’s remembered as much for its driving, menacing theme song as it is for the cast or plots.  Written by Henry Mancini, the song is both jazz and rock and has been recorded over the years by such diverse artists as Duane Eddy, Shelly Manne, Ted Heath, The Kingsmen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Deodato.  

Music—usually jazz—is often associated with PI stories and if TV series and movies can have musical sound tracks, why not mystery novels?   If you were to create music for Desert Kill Switch, I’d select classic rock instead of jazz.  In the book, I mention many songs and imagine them playing in the background to set a mood or to maintain the story’s retro theme.  If you wanted to put together an album representing scenes and themes in Desert Kill Switch, here are the songs I’d suggest:

Riders on the Storm – The Doors

One – 3-Dog Night

Knights in White Satin – Moody Blues

One of These Nights – Eagles

In the Year 2525 – Zager and Evans

You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt 

Little GTO – Ronnie and the Daytonas

Rockin Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu – Johnny Rivers

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

As a footnote, two of the above artists were born in Arizona, site of the Nostalgia City mysteries: Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and Linda Ronstadt.


New mystery thriller from TV writer


Hollie Overton is one of a number of TV writers—Sue Grafton comes to mind—to  become  a successful mystery writer.  Her first novel, Baby Doll, was a bestseller last year.

Overton wrote for Cold Case and The Client List and is currently working on the second season of Freeform’s Shadowhunters.  Her new book, called a pulse pounding thriller by Publishers Weekly, is a story of domestic violence and the morality of murder.

In The Walls, Overton’s protagonist is Kristy Tucker a press agent for the Texas Department of Corrections.  (Overton is a native Texan.)  Tucker handles everything on death row from inmate interviews to chronicling the last moments during an execution. Her job exposes her to the worst of humanity, and it’s one that’s beginning to take its toll. 

So when Tucker meets Lance Dobson, her son’s martial arts instructor, she believes she has finally found her happy ending. She’s wrong. 

She soon discovers that Lance is a monster. Forced to endure his verbal and physical abuse, Tucker is serving her own life sentence…unless she’s willing to take matters into her hands. Perfectly poised to exploit the criminal justice system she knows so well, Tucker sets out to get rid of Lance — permanently. 

I don’t know everything


The books I write, both nonfiction and fiction, start with ideas and branch out into chapters.  The background information in those chapters doesn’t all come from me.  No surprise.  Even with fiction—perhaps especially with fiction—I want to include accurate information, authentic details.  And many of those details are products of research: reading online and printed material and talking to experts.

Once I have collected facts and written a manuscript, I still need help. Writing is a solitary occupation, but making a manuscript as good as it can be  certainly is not. I need comments, suggestions, reactions and detailed editing.

I don’t know everything, but I know how to find people who know more than I do.  In Desert Kill Switch I thank the people who helped me create my book.  I’d like to thank them here, too.

Acknowledgements for Desert Kill Switch

My thanks to the professional team at Black Opal Books including Lauri, Faith, L.P., Arwen, and Jack for their hard work to make the book a reality.

Automobiles—classic cars in particular—are a big part of the story. I could not have included all the details about cars without the help of experts including veteran mechanic and classic car owner Bill Fogel and Tim Cox, a classic car owner and CEO of Quiet Ride Solutions.  Any automotive errors here are mine, not theirs.  Thanks to Jason Soto and Dustin Dodd for their generous help with my law enforcement questions.  And old friend Sue Longson gave me some pointers on auto lending.  Again, errors are all mine, not theirs.

Thanks again to Christel Hall for her careful editing.

My special appreciation goes to James Mandas for lending his beautiful 1972 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am to pose for the cover of this book and for his patience in arranging a photo shoot much delayed by weather.

Helpful ideas and support came from writer friends Jane Gorby, Linda Townsdin, Craig Holland, David Pincus and Gene Michals.  Many thanks to advance readers and to critique group members: Harriet Snyder, Christina Batjer, Betty Knapp, Carolee Hanks, Carol Watson, Anne Johnson, Marge Parnas, Deb Cork, Brian Cave, Nicole Frens, Rene Averett, and Lucas Ledbetter.

Finally, thanks to my wife, Anne, for her love and support.

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