Saturday, January 3, 2015

Diamonds, Clubs, and Rock & Roll / RJ McDonnell

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
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The son of a police detective, RJ McDonnell grew up watching TV detective shows with his father, who critiqued the stories for believability. (This is something McDonnell has in common with Jason Duffy, the protagonist of his mystery series.) A working musician during his college years, McDonnell has since worked as a professional writer, including as a columnist for two San Diego publications and a comedy skit writer for a local TV show.

For more, visit the author’s website.

“The rock group Doberman’s Stub thought it made a conservative investment when it placed all of its earnings from its only #1 album into a minority partnership at the world’s hottest new resort for millionaires and billionaires. But the blue chip investment quickly turned blood red when two bodies floated past the windows of the resort’s signature undersea club on the floor of La Jolla Cove.

To ensure a thorough police investigation, the group hired San Diego private investigator Jason Duffy, a former band mate of their lead guitarist, Michael Marinangeli. After determining that the victims were both local club patrons, Jason and Michael put their old group back together to serve as the club’s house band, giving Jason easy access to his top suspects. But his undercover status was nearly blown in his first week on the job when Elyse, the beautiful daughter of an affluent military contractor, used her wiles to crash his staff of psychologically challenged assistants.

Elyse led Jason to a society of local wannabe millionaires whose membership included both victims. On the surface, the society’s motives, goals, affiliations, and secrets appeared obvious. But Jason quickly discovered the downside to making snap judgments, encountering some of the most feared criminals the world has ever known as he dug deeper into the mystery surrounding their deaths.”


If I’m counting right, this is the third book I’ve read in the Rock & Roll Mystery series (this is the fifth book in the series). All have been solid efforts, including this latest installment. Jason Duffy, the protagonist in the series, is a musician, a one-time therapist although no longer practicing, giving up his practice to become a private detective. The musical backdrop is what initially attracted me to the series and I find the mystery portion of the books always hit the right notes, keeping me guessing, trying to figure out the solution along with Jason. But the part that stands out in this book, the aspect that struck me as unique, is an outgrowth of Jason’s past as a therapist.

Part of that is an occasional insight informed by human nature that the typical person wouldn’t be expected to pick up on, but the biggest reason I feel this way is because of two characters who assist Jason, both of them former patients; Jeannine, Jason’s obsessive assistant, and Cory, a technical whiz who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. These characters add a lot of color to the story and, in the process, help define Jason as a more complex and well rounded character as well.


A small amount of adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four Stars

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