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RJ McDonnell is the son of a Pennsylvania State Police Detective, who received several decorations for solving complex and high-profile crimes. In addition to a traditional education, RJ also had the benefit of seeing every police detective drama on television and in the movies. His father would frequently critique these stories for believability of characters and police procedures.
He earned a Bachelor's Degree at Penn State University and a Masters at Marywood University.During his college years RJ was a rhythm guitarist and vocalist in two bands. Shortly thereafter, he moved to San Diego where he went to work for a professional writing service. In addition, he wrote a monthly column for the Military Press, and another for a San Diego publication, providing advice to job seekers.
In the 90s, RJ got into comedy writing. He wrote for a local San Diego cable television show that had a Saturday Night Live-type format. Over its two seasons on the air, 34 of his skits were produced. Rock & Roll Homicide was the first novel in his Rock & Roll Mystery Series. The second novel, Rock & Roll Rip-Off, was selected 2010 Mystery/Thriller of the Year by Premier Book Awards.
I never thought anyone would combine an intriguing detective story with humor, the way Nelson DeMille does in his John Corey series - until now. Rock & Roll Homicide leads the reader through a diverse maze of suspects, ranging from a drugged-out drummer to the Russian Mafia. But, for me, the centerpiece to this intriguing whodunit is the laugh-out-loud humor that happens in between the action scenes and serious sleuthing. The detective, Jason Duffy, who is young and working his first murder case, was a counselor at a mental health center prior to becoming a detective. His two employees are both former patients, and he hires a third, as a temp, later in the book. While the two regular employees are both very good at their jobs, the way they relate to the world is frequently hilarious. The temp, a security guard with Delusions of Grandeur, is completely over the top. The case involves an ambitious rock star who was killed in an explosion while recording a CD. The widow, who is the chief suspect, hires Jason to help prove her innocence. The other aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the relationship between Jason and his ex-police detective father. It's not unusual for teenage boys to run into problems with their fathers while establishing their own identities. Jason's dilemma was magnified by the fact that he played in a rock band from high school until he became a private investigator. As a cop, his father knew all too well the downside to a rock & roll musician's lifestyle. Throughout the book we watch them take tentative steps toward reestablishing their relationship.Read more ›
Murder, music and the mob make a marvelous mix in RJ McDonnell's first novel "Rock and Roll Homicide," a delightfully witty and superbly crafted tale of novice detective Jason Duffy's investigation into the murder of a rising rock star.
The story revolves around the death of Terry Tucker, the hard-driving head of San Diego-based rock band Doberman's Stub, who was killed when his earphones exploded just as he was wrapping up work on the band's third CD - a promising release that was to shoot the group to superstardom.
The list of suspects in Tucker's death is enough to make even the most hard-nosed detective cringe. There's the rocker's wife, who stands to inherit a $5 million insurance payoff, record label executives with sinister ties to the Russian Mafia and his beleaguered band mates, including a hard-partying drummer and a singer/songwriter living well-beyond his means.
Toss in a cast of dysfunctional characters like Duffy's obsessive compulsive assistant, his retired police detective father and a photographer afflicted with Tourrette's Syndrome and you have all the makings for a fast-paced and funny look at life in the music business.
McDonnell takes the reader on a wild ride through the murder investigation, which has enough twists and turns to keep even the most hardened mystery lover intrigued. It's his insider's knowledge of the music industry, strong attention to detail and witty insights into the characters, however, that really makes this novel stand out.
Fast moving and at times laugh-out-loud hilarious, "Rock and Roll Homicide" has all the makings of a sure-fire winner. Anyone who loves murder, mysteries or music should pick it up.Read more ›
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As a psychiatric registered nurse I liked the way that the author portrayed his assistants. He addresses their illnesses and idiosyncratic behaviors with dignity, respect and humor. It is apparent that he has had experience with the mental health system. He weaves a storyline with interest, ingenuity and using the music business as the backdrop, excitement. I could feel the music and the enthusiasm of the band and especially the fans. I especially enjoyed the plot as it took turns and twists throughout the novel. I really did not expect the murderer to be who it was when revealed.
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New author for me and I think I downloaded it on a whim in April 2012 and it has been sitting in my TBR pile ever since, but we got there in the end and it was a good read.
Jason Duffy is an Ex rocker, Ex social needs councillor and now a full time private investigator. His father James is a 30 year veteran of the San Diego Police Department and his son is a bit of a disappointment to him as he should have been a cop too instead of messing about as a failed musician, councillor and now the ultimate slap in the face to any cop, a son who wants to be a 'private dick' (My words, not the authors or the fathers).
An up and coming group are in the studio laying down the final tracks to their third CD, the one that everyone says is going to turn them from a support band to the headline act.
The group front man and co writer of many of the songs, and a perfectionist calls a break and puts on his noise cancelling headphones, a present from his wife..........
It gets messy after that and while sitting in his office Jason Duffy's PA shows in a new client, Chelsea Tucker, wife of the dead rocker who stands to inherit $5 million from a recently taken out life policy, she needs a PI as she thinks the police are going to arrest her for the murder of her husband and as Jason finds out during he course of his investigations, they had had a very public and acrimonious argument a few days before the incident.
It turns out though that Terry Tucker, being a perfectionist and as is the way things are with those folk, made lots of people unhappy in his willingness to walk over those who did not come up to his high standards of performance and so not all of the band or the hangers on or roadies gave him their undying loyalty.Read more ›
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