||Aug 30, 2011
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A serial killer attempts to shut down the concert industry. This is the 3rd novel in the Rock & Roll Mystery Series.
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 Coroner’s 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 “can’t miss” band. The pre-release buzz for their first CD was tremendous. But a bad review from a key industry critic, who didn’t 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 insider’s view of the music industry that captures the new obstacles that today’s 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 McDonnell’s 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 “knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.”
Virginia Tolliver couldn’t stand another day of being known to her classmates as most likely to become a nun. Senior year was underway and she was still living up to the first six letters in her name. There was no shortage of opportunities to unlock her chastity belt. Except for a slightly pug nose, she was a natural blond beauty. But high school boys could never satisfy her lofty expectations. She wanted a man whose appeal would rival the hunks in her favorite romance novels. The lead singer in Concierge Lover was such a man. When she read that his band would be performing in the area she invested most of her savings in a beautiful pink mini-dress and a professional makeover. She saw enough groupies on television to know where to go and how to act after the show.
A man with the intense gaze of a hunter sat in his white sedan looking through a small pair of binoculars. He watched six groupies gathered near the stage entrance to the amphitheater where the concert headliner’s bus would soon be entering. His eyes were drawn to a blond tart wearing a shear pink mini-dress. He knew instantly that she would be the one.
He tailed her from a safe distance after the bus arrived. Her outfit made this task exceptionally simple. Throughout the warm-up act and the main show he watched as she drank four beers and danced with rowdy boys and other slutty girls on the lawn behind the permanent seats. When the band finished, she clapped wildly and glanced back at the restroom. He knew that her main concern would be to primp for the band. While the rest of the concert-goers roared for an encore, he finger-combed his brown wig, adjusted the prosthetic breasts he wore under his light gray v-neck sweater, and followed the groupie into the cinderblock women’s room. Upon entering he heard a stall door close, squatted for a moment and, glancing under the stall doors, confirmed that they were alone. He was momentarily disgusted by the array of toilet paper, discarded cups, and paper towels that were strewn about the floor. Before rising, his nostrils flared as he became aware of a puddle of vomit below the sink nearest to him.
He went into the stall at the far end of the restroom so that he would pass the pink trollop as he exited. He sat on the toilet, bent forward and carefully removed his long brown wig. Underneath was a plastic zip-lock bag containing a pair of latex gloves and a single sheet of paper folded into thirds. After putting on the gloves, he looked down at the paper which displayed the words, “Concerts are Evil,” written across the top in newspaper clippings. Below were the headlines of three murders he committed over the past three months. The police were obviously too stupid to recognize the connection, so he decided to point them in the right direction. At the bottom of the note he taped his signature, “The Concert Killer.”
He quietly removed four pieces of masking tape from the bag and taped the paper to the back of the stall door, wrinkling his gloves as he smoothed the tape. He placed the wig back on his head, making sure it completely covered his short black hair. He heard the tart’s toilet flush, and her stall door open.
Virginia was nervous and starting to have second thoughts about turning her fantasy into reality. The beers bolstered her courage, but she couldn’t stop thinking about her little sister, who wanted to be just like her. And, did she really want to share this experience with the guy she’ll eventually marry? Could she live with keeping it a secret?
Staring at herself in the restroom mirror, Virginia concluded that her plan was a mistake. She focused on her bright red lipstick with the suggestive name, grabbed a tissue and began quickly rubbing it off, as if once removed she could return to her old self.
From his front pocket, the Concert Killer pulled out a small blackjack that belonged to his grandfather, a deputy sheriff from Eureka, CA. It was about six inches long and was comprised of a leather handle and a small oval of iron wrapped in leather. His grandfather used it to knock out pugnacious drunks who refused to go peacefully.
He slid the metal bar, unlocking the door and exited. A row of eight sinks and mirrors lined the wall opposite the stalls. He planned on using a diversionary tactic so that the groupie wouldn’t see him swing the blackjack. But she was so engrossed in working on her lipstick that the ruse wasn’t necessary, and she never saw it coming. He connected with her right temple and she dropped instantly, bouncing her chin off of the sink. Holding her by the calves, he dragged her to the stall he had used, circled 90 degrees to his left, and pushed her to the toilet, head first. Noticing that her dress was now up to her waist, the Concert Killer pulled it down over her white panties, flipped her over, and adjusted the back of her dress. He then straddled her, grabbed her blond hair, and shoved her face into the toilet with all of his might. She regained consciousness briefly, but the blow weakened her and he had no trouble holding her down until she was dead. He left her facedown in the toilet bowl.
As he exited the stall he wiped down the handle and inside latch bar that he touched before donning the gloves. Another adjustment to her dress was necessary. He removed the gloves, flushed them down a different toilet, using a single knuckle on the handle, and walked out of the restroom. The band started playing another encore song and everyone’s attention was directed toward the stage.
Midwest Book Review
When your mind justifies it, anything is righteous. "The Concert Killer" is a mystery novel, the third from RJ McDonnell, this time as he follows investigator Jason Duffy and his crew of not exactly normal comrades as they pursue the serial killer who believes he's on a mission from God, stalking and killing people attending rock concerts. "The Concert Killer" is a fast paced and very fun read, not to be overlooked.
This is the third novel in the Rock & Roll series, again featuring former band member and mental health counselor, Jason Duffy. Now a private investigator, Jason staffs his office with past clients from his days as a therapist, and they are a quirky but lovable crew.
The son of a gruff retired cop, Jason comes naturally to the field of crime fighting, but he doesn’t always see eye to eye with his old-school, traditional dad. Jason’s also recently begun living with his school teacher girlfriend, Kelly, and they don’t quite have all the kinks in their relationship worked out yet.
But Jason’s got bigger problems. The novel opens with the murder of a young woman in a restroom at a concert arena. When it becomes evident that a serial killer is picking off victims at local concerts, the concert promoters hire Jason to track him down, but some of the businessmen seem more worried about their profit margins than the safety of their customers.
The murderer is a misguided religious fanatic. He keeps score of his kills on the back of a dollar bill and leaves taunting clues at the scene of each brutal crime. As Jason gets closer to identifying the killer, his own life and those of the people he loves may also be in danger.
Fast paced and full of action, this is a well-told story set in the glamorous world of high-dollar rock and roll.
Copyright 2011 Marlene Pyle
Big Al's Books & Pals
The third book in the Rock & Roll Mysteries series with Jason Duffy, rock musician turned private investigator, as the protagonist.
A religious fanatic serial killer believes that God rewards the most righteous with the most money. He also believes that rock music is evil and tries to shut down the concert industry by killing concertgoers.
I’m a sucker for fiction that integrates my hobbies or interests into the story. (I know, many of you are under the impression I don’t have enough free time to do anything except read. Not true, although close.) I recently reviewed a book with a poker theme that was especially fun to read for that reason. Today’s book integrates my long time interest in music.
The mystery plot is solid although the premise of rock and roll being the “devil’s music” is as old as rock and roll and the religious fanatic as serial killer has been done to death. Although I can’t think of one off the top of my head, I’d be amazed if combining the two hasn’t been done before too. None of this mattered to me. A completely new story idea doesn’t exist. What does matter is whether McDonnell added his own spin to keep me engrossed and entertained. This he did, with humor and fun, eccentric characters.
Jason Duffy, the lead character in this series, has a unique history as a musician and working with outpatient mental health patients prior to becoming a private investigator. He also has a sense of humor that keeps the reader entertained during the inevitable points in the story that are less tense or action packed. Jason alone might be enough. However, there are a slew of secondary characters who are fun and quirky as well. Many of these I’d guess are, or will be, recurring in the series. Duffy’s two employees are both former mental health clients. Jeannine, the assistant and researcher with a touch of OCD, and the tech-savvy Cory who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, act as foils for Duffy’s humor and add plenty of their own. Duffy’s retired cop dad and mother along with his girlfriend Kelly all put Duffy in situations that are good for laughs. Bernie Liebowitz (the owner of Duffy’s favorite music club and frequent confidante) was another of my favorites. I’ve read books that made me laugh out loud before, but never a mystery that did it like this one. Now I’m going to backtrack to the first two books of the series.
Some adult language.
Although part of a series, this book works well as a standalone. Duffy’s back-story is covered in enough detail that I never felt there was something I was missing and needed from the earlier installments.
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