Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Rock & Roll Homicide by R. J. McDonnell

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Rock & Roll Homicide by R. J. McDonnell. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Rock & Roll Homicide by R. J. McDonnell

Rock & Roll Homicide by
A Jason Duffy Mystery

Killeena Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9814914-1-3 (0981491413)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9814914-1-7 (9780981491417)
Publication Date: June 2008
List Price: $25.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Just as the rock band Doberman’s Stub was about to reach stadium tour status, its leader was brutally murdered when his headphones exploded during a recording session. The widow, who inherits $5 million, is the Police Department’s number one suspect. She hires Jason Duffy, a 27-year-old PI in his first year of private practice, in spite of his background as a former musician.

Jason learns that the victim was also a very skilled contract negotiator, who was in the middle of an acrimonious renegotiation with the record company at the time of his death. He also finds that the record company has a very unhealthy tie to the Russian Mafia.

As an inexperienced detective, Jason does not yet have the contacts within the police department to gather vital information. He is forced to mend fences with his estranged father, an opinionated ex-SDPD detective.

Review: R. J. McDonnell introduces singer and guitarist turned private investigator Jason Duffy in Rock & Roll Homicide, an investigation set along the sunny shores and towering cliffs of La Jolla, California.

Terry Tucker, the leader of an up and coming heavy metal rock and roll band, has been viciously murdered. Someone had outfitted his new, heavy-duty, headphones with blasting caps and explosives. When he turned them on, his brains were blown out by the explosion. Terry’s widow Chelsea is the sole beneficiary of his recently purchased five million dollar insurance policy. The San Diego police immediately tag her as the prime suspect in her husband's murder. Rookie PI Jason finds himself with his first high-profile case when Chelsea hires him to go out and find the real killer. Determined to succeed, he proceeds with the gusto of a tried and true professional. First, he finds that Terry was renegotiating the band’s current contract in order to make a better deal for himself, plus a rider that allows him to arbitrarily remove one of the band members. He was doing this without the knowledge of the band, through his lawyer and, in a roundabout way, the Russian Mafia. Then, after a little arm-twisting, Jason's father, a former San Diego detective, introduces him to Walter Shamasky, a current detective with the department, who decides to work with Jason. Together they make a list of suspects, eliminating those who they know have alibis or have no obvious reason to kill Terry. While pursuing leads, Duffy is shot at, his office is broken into and his secretary bound and gagged, his computers stolen, and a close friend and associate beaten badly and hospitalized. Not exactly what he expected for his first real case as a private investigator.

Filled with insider details of the entertainment industry, music and mystery fans alike will be thrilled with Rock & Roll Homicide. But even those readers simply looking for a fast-paced story with likeable characters will appreciate the book. The dialog, in particular that of the impatient widow Chelsea, is sharp and witty and plays well off of the more laid-back Jason. Jason himself has issues with his father who takes a very narrow view of who in the world he trusts. It's an interesting relationship and its inclusion adds depth to the story.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Rock & Roll Homicide and to R. J. McDonnell for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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