Death in Nostalgia City

By Mark S. Bacon

Category Archives: Mystery novels

Progress Report: Nostalgia City Mystery Series

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Movies and television shows have soundtracks, why not novels?  Occasionally I like soft music playing in the background while I read.  Often, I listen to baroque when I’m writing.  It’s supposed to reduce tension and enhance concentration.  Your heartbeat slows down, you relax and the right and left sides of your brain synchronize.  This must be true, I read it on the Internet.  Actually, if you do a web search, you’ll find a Stanford University study that says essentially the same thing.

jefferson-airplane-white-rabbitRock music and specific songs play an important part in Death in Nostalgia City.  Music is also featured in upcoming books in the series.  More about them in a moment.  I used names of songs in the novel to help set a mood and maintain the book’s retro theme. 

I’m not suggesting you listen to a rock soundtrack while reading Death in Nostalgia City.  Listening to Elvis, for example, doesn’t enhance any cognitive functions I know of.  I have, however, put together a song list that could be background music for the book—were it to be translated into film.  Some of these are mentioned in the book, others just fit the mood. Just as a movie soundtrack CD can bring back the story and characters to your mind, so my song list can remind you of key parts of the book.

Here are the songs I’d put in the CD for Death in Nostalgia City:

Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace
White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
Knights in White Satin – Moody Blues
Harper Valley PTA – Jeannie C. Riley
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
American Pie – Don McLean
The Weight – A Group Called Smith
Crocodile Rock – Elton John
You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Riders on the Storm – The Doors
We Gotta Get Out of This Place –  The Animals

New book announcement

Desert Kill Switch will be the next book in the Nostalgia City series and it’s due out later this year from Black Opal Books.  Lyle and Kate are back in a mystery that takes them to Nevada, while Lyle tries to escape memories of a murder and Kate tries to avoid blame for another one.  Lots of creepy, menacing suspects.  No help from the police.

Imagine yourself in the middle of the Nevada desert in August. What classic rock songs come to mind? The soundtrack for this book would vary from light refrains to dark lyrics. Continue Reading →

Feisty attorney dukes it out with the Mob

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Identity Crisis
Debbi Mack
Wild Blue Press
4th Edition Aug. 2015
Kindle $5.99  Trade paper $11.99

Attorney Sam McRae has a more than troublesome case.  Her missing client is accused of murder and implicated in a bank scandal.  Sam’s affair with a married prosecutor—who is likely not going to leave his wife—weighs on her often.  And as she tries to locate her missing client, she’s followed by a black Lincoln.  “Something about the design suggested a rolling black casket.”

Driving a beat-up Mustang convertible, Sam chases from Maryland to Pennsylvania to track down her client, shadowed by the Mob and worried that someone connected to the case is trying to steal her identity.  The engaging, fast-moving story readsidentity-crisis-debbi-mack like the PI novel that it is, even though the protagonist is an attorney.  Sam has more instinct, determination and guts than most male investigators, and she manages to stay one step ahead of the cops.

Sam meets a nosy neighbor with alcohol and garlic breath, a private eye who is either stalking her or there to save her, a woman with a scarred face and a “three-pack-a-day voice” and an upper-crust strip club owner with something to hide. Add in Mob figures made from equal parts menace and violence plus eccentric federal agents and you have an entertaining—and upsetting—cast of characters.

Finally, the story is decorated with lively language and descriptions: Continue Reading →

Parting the gauzy curtain of misdirection

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Murder mysteries

What is a mystery novel without a puzzle? Guest writer Daniella Bernett explores some of the elements that make up the puzzle.  Bernett’s second mystery in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon series, Deadly Legacy, debuts tomorrow, Sept.24, from Black Opal Books. 

Why is the question that my mind whispers when I dip into a deliciously intriguing mystery. For me, it’s always been about the puzzle. A desire to find out how and why a crime was conceived and executed. To figure out who the murderer is before the sleuth.

deadly-legacy-daniella-beDoes it sound cold-blooded and calculating? Perhaps it is. But I rather like to view it as a diverting challenge. I have to be sharp because the author has deliberately set me off on the wrong path. The only way to uncover the right clues that will reveal the truth is to part the gauzy curtain of misdirection. The author is not completely cruel, though. He or she always leaves a strand or two dangling in the wind. It is the reader’s job to grasp it quickly before it drifts away.

Another thing that helps the reader tremendously on this quest for answers is understanding human nature and all its foibles. In my opinion, Agatha Christie was the master at peeling back the layers of the psyche to reveal greed, jealousy and pure, naked evil. Knowledge is power. With knowledge, the reader can navigate the twists and turns of the tale to see justice prevail, as it always must. Continue Reading →

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