Death in Nostalgia City

By Mark S. Bacon


“A rol­licking good read! That’s how I would describe Mark S. Bacon’s novel, Death in Nos­talgia City. It’s a page turner, a fast-​​paced mystery that pits the good guys against the obvious bad guys with forceful but sat­is­fying results. Half way through Death in Nos­talgia City, the reader pretty much knows who’s guilty. Learning how all the pieces of the plot fit intri­cately together and watching the vil­lains’ attempts to avoid capture and pros­e­cution are what’s so enjoyable about reading Bacon’s thriller.Death in Nostalgia City web-ready

The setting plays a key role. Nos­talgia City is an adult theme park, built in the Arizona desert not far from old Route 66 and designed to attract the baby boomer gen­er­ation. The com­munity repli­cates the 1970s, with no signs of mod­ern­ization what­soever. Old gas pumps, old cash reg­isters, old movies, old music, even old amusement park rides. The only hint of the twenty-​​first century is an Indian casino just a few miles away, easily acces­sible by riding a nos­talgic old train. Bil­lionaire Max Maxwell has thought of every­thing to attract paying customers.

Death in Nos­talgia City opens with a series of unusual acci­dents. Sud­denly the idyllic scenery is filled first with wor­risome snags and then with fatal calamities. The theme park’s designer and financial guru, dis­sat­isfied with park security, asks Lyle Deming, an ex-​​Phoenix cop who works in Nos­talgia City as a taxi driver, to inves­tigate. Maxwell also hires Kate Sorenson, a Las Vegas public rela­tions spe­cialist, to counter the bad pub­licity that is driving cus­tomers away. Before long, Lyle and Kate are a team, working together to figure out who is behind the das­tardly deeds that are driving the cus­tomers away.

Lyle and Kate are a charming twosome, first deter­mining the cul­prits, then cal­cu­lating ways to trap the evil doers. As you can tell by my lan­guage, Death in Nos­talgia City is just plain fun. Even though there are several violent encounters, the rapid pace and the intricate machi­na­tions make the novel a delight, not a downer at all. Bacon plots well, char­ac­terizes well, and writes well. In addition, “Nos­talgia City” turns Dis­neyland into Magic Mountain into Dol­lywood into Wall Street into the mean streets of New York City, a winning collage of baby boomer fan­tasies and rem­i­nis­cences.”

–Ann Ronald, Bookin’ with Sunny ReviewsTire-mustang-Web-opt.

“I really enjoyed everything about this book! It is indeed a taste of nostalgia bringing back all that was new and “happening” during that time period… Loved it, Loved It.”

Glenda Bixler, Book Readers Heaven

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“Death In Nostalgia City is very aptly titled because while I was reading it I felt like I was taking a walk down memory lane.  Not that I had experience with a murder but this book reminded me of the old police dramas that I enjoyed watching.  Memories of shows like Starsky and Hutch and The Rockford Files came flooding back to me while I was reading this book.  And that is a good thing.

Lyle Deming is a cab driver in a theme park and it is the perfect job for him.  He is an ex-policeman who suffers from chronic anxiety attacks so the non-stress of being a cab driver is just what the doctor ordered.  Until accidents start happening within the park and people start getting injured and dying.  Lyle’s anxiety level begins climbing with each incident.

Knowing that Lyle is an ex-policeman, the owner of the resort asks Lyle to investigate the incidents and figure out what is happening and why.  He reluctantly agrees and finds himself in more trouble than he could have imagined.  Lucky for him, he enlists the help of the resort’s Public Relations director, Kate Sorenson.  One of Kate’s jobs is to create positive publicity to counteract the bad press that the resort is experiencing.  Kate is not sure which will be harder, catching a killer or spinning the incidents in a positive light.

There is so much to love about this book.  The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional.  Both Lyle and Kate have very many human traits that we all have.  Both Lyle and Kate come into each other’s lives and into the investigation with baggage.  Kate has problems with commitments.  Lyle left the police force under questionable circumstances and really struggles with his anxiety disorder.  They seem very realistic to me and are very easy to start caring and worrying about.

The setting of the theme park is described so well that I wish that a place like that really existed.  Everything from the early seventies is replicated, from the clothing, food,  vehicles and music.

Being a teenager in the seventies, I could relate to all of these things and it brought back memories for me.  This is one of the things I liked most about the book.

The book pulled me in from the very beginning and never let me go.  There are so many twists and turns contained within this book that at times I almost felt dizzy.  The suspense and tension are almost palpable and I had to keep turning pages as fast as I could to find out what was going to happen to Lyle and Kate.

I love the premise of the book and Nostalgia City.  I found this to be unique and very enjoyable and this is a good thing.  The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read.  The author is very descriptive in his writing and is able to evoke memories and create tension just with his written word.

I would recommend this well-crafted mystery suspense to anyone who enjoys this genre.  If you have lived through the seventies, you will enjoy this book even more.  Hopefully this is the start of a new series for Mark S. Bacon.  I want to be able to learn more about Lyle and Kate and get to know them even better.”

–Open Book Society


“Just as baby boomers love nostalgia and trivia, they will love Death in Nostalgia City. It’s a twisty mystery set in a retro theme park in the Arizona desert. The fast-paced story travels to Boston and back as we meet a diverse blend of intriguing characters, all with something to hide.

“Off-beat ex-cop Lyle Deming pursues suspects with an intensity bordering on obsession.   He frustrates his younger partner with his questionable logic and his puzzling references to ‘60s and ‘70s trivia he knows well. Reading this theme park thriller is more fun than winning a trivia contest and riding your favorite wooden coaster on the same day!”

–Wilson Casey, syndicated columnist, author and Guinness World Record trivia guy

Flying A tiny

Death in Nostalgia City, a novel by Mark S. Bacon, is set in Arizona, and protagonist Lyle Deming has a new job driving a cab for Nostalgia City, a unique theme park and resort that takes visitors back to the 1970s. He’s a former cop, but is perfectly happy with this new low-stress job. Archibald “Max” Maxwell is the brain behind the park, and he hires Kate Sorensen as the PR Manager after a series of suspicious, “accidents,” some resulting in fatalities, occur at the park. The media, of course, blows the problems out of proportion, attendance begins to plummet, and Max is in danger of losing everything. Lyle is convinced that someone is trying to sabotage the park and drive it out of business. He and Kate team up to not only find a motive and perpetrator, but to stop any more accidents from happening.

As Lyle and Kate investigate, they interact with several park employees, politicians, and unsavory people who may be responsible for the accidents and murders. As Lyle and Kate uncover facts and evidence, they find they are in danger for their lives. When Lyle’s father is murdered, it becomes a personal thing, and he is determined to find the murderer. This novel is written in such a way that the suspense is palpable, the characters are likable, and the 70s backdrop adds an element of fun.

Bacon is an excellent storyteller. He has imagination, and is able to put his ideas together in such a way that readers won’t be able to put this book down. The characters are well-developed, and seem like real people. The nostalgic theme park is unique and fascinating; it seems Bacon has done his research on the 70s, and everything mentioned – from the old cars, old music and radio programs is absolutely true to the period.

Death in Nostalgia City will especially appeal to baby boomers because of the 70s theme, but the book is highly recommended for almost anyone. It’s a delightful trip back in time with plenty of twists, turns, and a surprise ending.

Karen Hancock
Bella Online’s Suspense/Thriller Books Editor


“Bacon has written an entertaining crime novel full of action, intrigue and heart.  With a pair of likable protagonists and a unique setting, this is one fast, fun ride.  I want to visit Nostalgia City!”

— Wendy Tyson, Author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series


“With Death in Nostalgia City, Bacon has created an exquisite theme park resort.  When a little crime and murder invades this sterile amusement park environment, the result is a mystery that will keep you turning the pages.  Family vacations will never be the same.”

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


Imagine Disney except for adults–baby boomers to be exact. That is what Max has created, a theme park which pretty well mimics the 60’s and 70’s. Lyle Deming, who left the police department under not the best of circumstances now is happily driving a cab for tourists in this make-believe town.

Then accidents start happening and Max hires Kate who is a super PR person to try and stop the bad publicity or at least put a better spin on it. The accidents become more frequent–then someone dies. Max convinces Lyle to investigate.

There are twists and turns aplenty in this one! Lyle and Kate have to team up and try to stay alive to save the park! Not everyone is so lucky–I genuinely enjoyed reading this book and was happy at a decision to add something to the park at the end–Will there be another in this series? I’m not sure-but there should be!!  Five Stars

Michele Bodenheimer,

Peace-sign-5The old saying, smile things could get worse – I smiled and sure enough they got worse should be Lyle Deming’s creed.  Lyle is an ex-cop now driving a cab in a theme park.  The goal of the job is to reduce his anxieties.

Nostalgia City is a theme park that allows one to visit the past.  A complete, circa 1970 is replicated – cars, music, clothes, etc. are all appropriate for the year.

The attitude of Nostalgia City is relaxed, laid back, chill but then rides are tampered with, and tourists die.  As Lyle was a cop, the owner of the park asks Lyle to investigate off the record.

But things go from bad to worse – more violence, employees are stalked.  Lyle turns to the park’s PR director of help.  Kate, a former college basketball player joins in the investigation.  Unfortunately, Kate just can’t blend in – not at 6 foot 2 inches and beautiful.

Even with a beautiful sidekick, Lyle and Kate work together to discover whether these are accidents or not?  Whether corporate espionage or not?  And who is doing this?

DEATH IN NOSTLAGIA CITY is a delightful combination of past and present thrillers.  The theme park makes you feel, taste, even touch 1970s.  If you remember the 70s you will enjoy the park.  But the present is not left behind- leaving a good weave to mystery and excitement in both eras.  Well written, highly enjoyable and a great step back to another time.

I give it 5 stars.

–Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D. MHt.


Death in Nostalgia City takes the reader for a ride in Lyle Deming’s cab (a 1973 Dodge Polara) through the Nostalgia City theme park – welcome back to the 70s.

Ex-cop Deming is pressed into service to investigate when accidents start happening and it looks like sabotage. The ex-FBI security chief doesn’t like it but PR Director (and ex-basketball star) Kate Sorenson teams up with Lyle to find out who-dun-nit and why.

The setting is detailed and imaginative. DJ Big Earl Williams keeps the wax spinning and provides a soundtrack to warm any boomer’s heart. The reader, like the tourists, gets to travel a generation back in time and imagine the fun of visiting such a theme park. Until the present ominously intrudes.

It’s fun to see how Deming works in two eras – using 21st century techniques and tools in his detecting and then easily segueing back into the 70s for a tour of the park. Wonder which time zone he would really rather live in.

Bacon has created a compelling world with characters and puzzles to keep the plot moving.

Clues SistersCartridge-primer

In Arizona, retired Phoenix cop Lyle Deming drives a 1973 Dodge taxi in Nostalgia City; a town that targets baby boomer tourists with its authentic 1970s replication.  With two passengers, Lyle brakes at a stop sign when he notices a driverless vehicle picking up speed while heading towards him and his fare.  He accelerates though the runaway scrapes the back of his car.  Chief of Security Clyde Bates arrives to investigate what turns out to be murder when a firefighter finds a corpse.

Nostalgia City President septuagenarian Archibald “Max: Maxwell hires Lyle to investigate surreptitiously.  Max also persuades his former employee, well over six foot relations guru Kate Sorenson to leave Vegas for Flagstaff at a time when the press is all bad.  Although both have major personal issues, Kate and Lyle form a cohesive unit looking into the lethal occurrences.  When more deadly incidents happen, Lyle and Kate begin to believe investors with an insider quisling or two are sabotaging Max’s efforts; which leads them diagonally across the country to Massachusetts where they deploy methods a cop could never use.

The investigation engages the audience especially with a six foot plus female trying to be inconspicuous.  However, the exhilarating storyline belongs to Nostalgia City’s early 1970s theme that captures much of the era’s pop culture; especially baby boomers who heard “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan on AM and watched the first showing of the soaps and All in the Family. 

Harriet Klausner, Amazon #1 Hall of Fame reviewer
Genre Go Round Reviews

Ferris-Wheel- tiny 9

 Taylor Jones: In Death in Nostalgia City by Mark S. Bacon, Lyle Deming is a former, burned out cop, who’s now a taxicab driver in a theme park designed around the 1960s and ’70s. The park is like a trip back in time to the era of flower children and 8-track tapes. Lyle is happy working as a cab driver, but when someone sabotages the park and people start dying, his cop instincts take over, and he accepts a new position as investigator for the park. Add in Kate Sorenson, the six-foot blonde new VP of public relations, whom Lyle convinces to go undercover for him, and you have all the elements of a first-class mystery.

The characters are well-developed, and the plot is strong. All in all, it is a thrilling, suspense-filled, action-packed ride.

Ragan Murphy: Death in Nostalgia City by Mark S. Bacon is a fast-paced murder mystery with a unique twist. The premise of the book is not exactly new, but I liked the idea of a retro 60-70s theme park. Our hero, Lyle Deming, and our heroine, Kate Sorenson, are an unlikely match, but that just makes it more interesting. As does Lyle’s background as a discredited cop who could be just a little crazy. Kate is over six feet tall, which adds another wrinkle to the romantic elements in the background,

As I said, I thought the idea of a retro theme park unique. It adds another dimension to an already-complicated plot, which has more than enough twists and turns to surprise and intrigue you. This is a mystery/thriller that you won’t be able to read just once, not if you want to get all the little details that are easy to miss.

The review team of Taylor Jones and Regan Murphy

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