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Home > Author > RJ McDonnell
RJ McDonnell

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Member Since: Jul, 2008

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  RJ McDonnell

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Winner of the Premier Book Awards 2010 Mystery/Thriller Novel of the Year for Rock & Roll Rip-Off

Background Information

Over 20 years of writing experience, including mystery fiction, television comedy, newspaper columns, and numerous freelance non-fiction projects. I became interested in mysteries at a very early age. My father was a detective with the Pennsylvania State Police. He solved cases that landed him on the cover of True Detective Magazine and The New York Post's Justice Story. In addition to hearing about true crime, my dad and I watched every crime drama on television. Afterwhich, he would frequently critique the shows for authenticity.

As I got into college I began to read mystery fiction. Shortly after my dad passed away I discovered Lawrence Sanders and his tough as nails detective, Edward X. Delaney. As my views on life evolved, I began to enjoy a taste of humor with my mysteries. Today my favorites include Nelson DeMille, Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton.

My Jason Duffy series represents my road not taken. Like Duffy, I play rhythm guitar and sing. I also have a couple of degrees in Psychology/Counseling and worked in the field for two years. Where Duffy left the field to become a detective, I transitioned into writing. The first of the series, "Rock & Roll Homicide," is currently available. The second will be released in the spring of 2009, and a third the following year. All three are relatd to the music industry.

Birth Place
Scranton, PA USA
Additional Information

Rock & Roll Homicide recently received a 5 Star review from Beverly Ford, a 20 year veteran of The Boston Herald. Also, strong reviews from Midwest Book Review, Armchair Interviews, and Mysterious Reviews.

Contact Information
RJ McDonnell
PO Box 3611 
Scranton PA 18505   USA
Contact Author: RJ McDonnell
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Rock & Roll Homicide
Just as the rock band, Dobermanís 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 San Diego Police Departmentís 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. While Jason investigates the record company, he also takes a close look at the three surviving members of the victimís band. One is an alcoholic/drug addict drummer, on the verge of being kicked out of the group. The second is a bass player who camouflages his rock star status by living in an ordinary house in a lower middle-class neighborhood. Third is a lead guitarist and writer of half of the bandís songs, who lives well beyond his means. Jason has not yet become hardened to the very real dangers of his new profession. We experience his inner conflict as his girlfriend, staff, and family are drawn into the danger zone. After Jasonís part-time employee is severely beaten during a stakeout, he sells the story of the Russian Mafiaís involvement in the record business to a tabloid journalism TV show in a misguided effort to protect his employer and coworker. This serves to drive the case to new heights of danger and suspense. Jason goes behind the industry veneer of sex & drugs & hedonistic lifestyles. He shows us how the 21st Century world of downloads, file sharing, and image demographics need to be considered in a case of Rock & Roll Homicide.

Rock & Roll Rip-Off
Jason Duffy thought he had accepted a routine burglary case when a career studio musician hired him to recover a memorabilia collection featuring unusual treasures from some of the top performers in the music industry. But Jason quickly finds himself at the top of a hit list that has nothing to do with The Top 40 and everything to do with a table for one at the San Diego Coronerís Office. While the facts of the case point to an emo band that the victim was helping at the time of the theft, the lethal force that Jason encounters in his investigation feels more like death metal. He finds himself imperiled by a hitman known as The Heartbreaker, due to his signature of shooting his victims through the heart at close range. With danger also threatening his staff and girlfriend, Jason must continue to mend fences with his retired police detective father, in spite of a recent riff that caused a major setback to their relationship. Everyone thought The Tactile Tattoo was a ďcanít missĒ band. The pre-release buzz for their first CD was tremendous. But a bad review from a key industry critic, who didnít care for their lyrics, left the album stillborn at record stores across the country. The group soon learned that second chances in the current state of the music business are practically nonexistent. One band member discovered that money talks in an industry strapped for cash, and a bribe was entirely possible. However, funding that bribe meant getting involved with all of the wrong people. In the midst of this action whodunit, the reader is treated to an insiderís view of the music industry that captures the new obstacles that todayís bands must overcome in order to succeed. Some musicians handle the pressures, opportunities, and disappointments more effectively than others. Some still succumb to the mesmerizing allure of sex and drugs and rock & roll. Rock & Roll Rip-Off is the second novel in RJ McDonnellís Rock & Roll Mystery Series. Like the critically acclaimed Rock & Roll Homicide, McDonnell once again mixes humor, music, and a cast of unique characters to unfold a memorable mystery that shows Jason and a loved one ďknock, knock, knockiní on heavenís door.Ē

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