Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Marijuana Murders

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark S. Bacon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY 

Nostalgia City executive Kate Sorensen finds the body of a mechanic crushed under an automobile hoist in the theme park’s garage. Accident or murder? Will it impact Kate’s decision to become an advisor for one of two competing campaigns to legalize marijuana in Arizona?

When the death is ruled a homicide and the DEA stages a surprise raid, park cab driver Lyle Deming is recruited to help solve the murder and find out if the park’s garage is being used to smuggle drugs. The anxiety-ridden ex-cop is soon poking around a Mexican border town looking for a park contractor who might be a drug mule. Or he might be dead.

Meanwhile, Kate, a 6-2 former college basketball star, is in the middle of a heated clash between potential corporate control of pot marketing and a laid-back, grow-your-own approach. As Kate wonders whether she should mediate or advocate, she’s forced to dash for her life. Amid setbacks and threats, she and Lyle must sort through interwoven crimes, a tangle of evidence, and dark suspects.

Then there’s another murder.

The Marijuana Murders is the third novel in this mystery series set in Nostalgia City, a theme park that re-creates—in every detail—a small town from the 1970s.

My Review...
While the setting for this novel is a “theme park” type of place called Nostalgia City, it is nostalgic mostly for those of us who are of the baby boomer era. My first thought as I began to read was whether the subject would limit or narrow the field of readers for the author. While I really enjoyed some of the things I could identify with, I think there might be many things to interest all readers. The cars will be of interest to any reader and are timeless. I smiled many times reading about them. The legalization of marijuana is an ongoing argument in many states today. And of course, there are many twists and turns and murders just as any mystery should contain.  

This story started out slow for me. I think a part of this was getting to know the characters. After I had a better idea of who was “what” so to speak, it seemed to pick up and read easily. I wondered if this could have been because I have not read the previous books in the series and this is not really a stand-alone.

An interesting read and a new subject. Worth my time to read.

Read an excerpt...

From Chapter 26

When they started up the walkway to the neighbor’s house, a double-wide trailer home, they heard a dog growl somewhere within. A large dog. When they stepped up on the home’s wooden deck, a middle-aged woman in jeans and a western blouse cracked the front door open. “What do ya want?”
The growling got louder.

Rey pulled out his badge and identified himself. “I wanted to ask you a few questions about your neighbors.”

“Okay, come on in.” She pulled the door open wide.

A rottweiler slightly smaller than a Bengal tiger sat on the floor near the door. His growl rumbled like a low-rider car stereo.

“Oh, don’t worry about him,” the woman said. She motioned to the dog. “Benji, quiet. Stay.”

Lyle and Rey stepped into the living room. “We’re following up on the car theft next door. Do you know your neighbors to the west very well?”

“Them? Hell no. They come and go. Sometimes late at night. Vanessa, I think that’s the woman what owns it. She says she has a big family that mooches off her. I ain’t stupid. Somethin’s going on over there. Cops were here this morning asking about that car theft.”

Lyle stole a glance at the massive K-9. “Did Benji bark last night?” Benji?

“He did, about two, three o’clock. That’s what I told the other cops. I heard some noises, but I mind my own business.”

“How long has Vanessa lived there?” Rey asked.

“Maybe six months. The Carlsons moved out.”

“You know where she came from?”

“Said Tucson.”

“You ever talk to any of Vanessa’s family,” Lyle asked, “visitors?”

“No, sir. They don’t come ’round wantin’ to talk. ’Course I usually leave Benji out on the porch.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a Southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the road from Disneyland.  Experience working at Knott’s formed part of the inspiration for his creation of Nostalgia City theme park. 

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by the Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Orange County (Calif.) Register, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Marijuana Murders is the third book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City.  The first book introduced ex-cop turned cab driver Lyle Deming and PR executive Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star.  Death in Nostalgia City was recommended in February for book clubs by the American Library Association.

Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words.  He taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, the University of Nevada – Reno, and the University of Redlands.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.   He gets many of his ideas while walking his golden retriever, Willow.

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  1. How many hours a day do you spend writing?

    1. Bernie, I write 5-8 hours a day five or six days a week. I get up, sit and the computer and write. I write and inspiration strikes. Not vice versa. Thanks for asking.

  2. Thanks so much for the review and the excerpt. I just recently changed publishers so the only links shown above that work are Kindle and Print. Apple and other versions will be available soon. You can check my website, baconsmysteries.com for updates, or sign up to receive my blog.

  3. A question for the author: Do you think that Marijuana Murders would translate well to film and if so, is that something that you would like to see?

  4. Good review and excerpt. Looks like an interesting book.

  5. Yes of course. Creating Nostalgia City would be relatively easy: back lot, CGI, and/or some retro-looking small towns in the west. The plot is relatively complex, but could be simplified for the screen by removing a character or two, particularly in the garage. The scenes in Mexico could be filmed in almost any border town. Who do you think should play the lead roles, especially Kate and Lyle?

  6. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

  7. What is the inspiration of this book?

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