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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep the Rock & Roll Series Coming
Rock & Roll Rip-Off is the second of McDonnell's novels that I've read in his Jason Duffy series. Again, he combines realistic fast-paced action with a fair amount of humor to make for a very entertaining read. It takes place a year after Rock & Roll Homicide left off, and does a good job of showing progress in Jason's detective skills. It also portrays the maturation of...
Published on April 23, 2010 by John J. Luczak

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait, Why am I Reading This?
Drat! I hate it when I'm several chapters into a book and find myself stopping to wonder why I'm bothering to read it all.

RJ McDonnell, author of Rock & Roll Rip-Off, wrote this book using the mystery format wherein the reader knows "who-dunnit" right from the start. In this case, the protagonist's convoluted path to figuring out who the culprits are is what's...
Published on June 23, 2012 by Liko01


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep the Rock & Roll Series Coming, April 23, 2010
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This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Hardcover)
Rock & Roll Rip-Off is the second of McDonnell's novels that I've read in his Jason Duffy series. Again, he combines realistic fast-paced action with a fair amount of humor to make for a very entertaining read. It takes place a year after Rock & Roll Homicide left off, and does a good job of showing progress in Jason's detective skills. It also portrays the maturation of his relationship with his girlfriend, Kelly, and the continued ups-and-downs with his crusty retired police detective father.
My main criticism is that McDonnell wrote it in the 3rd person, where Rock & Roll Homicide was told strictly through Jason's eyes. I can see why he wanted to show the readers the villain's perspective. But, personally, I missed the familiarity that came across in the first book.
Overall, I liked Rock & Roll Rip-Off better because of its classic who-done-it twists and compelling tension. I've been a fan of rock music since I was in my early teens, and loved the way the story revealed several major obstacles that are unique to the digital music age.
I really empathized with the victim, a career studio musician and father of five, who built a big memorabilia collection to put his kids through college, only to have it stolen. The victim's wife was very credible in the way she supported her husband, defended her children, and added key insights to move the investigation forward.
Finally, if you felt McDonnell's sense of humor added a lot to his first novel in the series, you won't be disappointed in Rock & Roll Rip-Off. I had at least five LOL moments where my wife asked why I was laughing so hard. I wish there were ten more in this series that I could get started on tonight.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, Rock and Roll and FUN!, April 21, 2011
By 
Tami Schnurr (El Cajon, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Rock & Roll Mystery Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
As a huge fan of Rock and Roll Homicide, I was very excited to read Rock and Roll Rip-Off! The main characters are well written and true to themselves, they grow and interact so well! After reading both books, and having several family and friends read them too, I donated a copy of both the high school library where the last of my children just graduated. A few weeks ago, the library tech told me both books have been frequently checked out, and several kids have come in looking for them, by word of mouth. Can't wait for the third installment in July. RJ has taken the old fashioned detective style and updated it, thrown in the rock and roll, tossed it all in to the Southern California lifestyle and turned out some great books!
Rock & Roll Rip-Off
Rock & Roll Homicide
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating adventure on the darker side of the music industry, June 6, 2010
This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Hardcover)
The music industry isn't all about the sound anymore. "Rock & Roll Rip-Off" is the story of Jason Duffy, a private detective who accepts a job and soon finds the music industry has more than memorabilia in their closets. He becomes entrenched in a plot surrounding a failed debut album of an emo band, and soon finds himself on the wrong side of a successful hit man. "Rock & Roll Rip-Off" is a fascinating adventure on the darker side of the music industry and the criminal underworld that lies with it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait, Why am I Reading This?, June 23, 2012
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Liko01 (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Rock & Roll Mystery Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Drat! I hate it when I'm several chapters into a book and find myself stopping to wonder why I'm bothering to read it all.

RJ McDonnell, author of Rock & Roll Rip-Off, wrote this book using the mystery format wherein the reader knows "who-dunnit" right from the start. In this case, the protagonist's convoluted path to figuring out who the culprits are is what's supposed to keep the reader engaged and interested. It totally didn't, at least not for me. Instead, I found myself thinking "who cares?"

Premise: PI with a rock & roll background who comes from a cop family has the inside track on a stolen memorabilia collection. He must work his way through the members of an up-and-coming band and their assorted entourage to identify the bad guys. When he finally does, it's irrelevant. The reader has known all along whose to blame and there's nothing new revealed through character development or plot action to provide any surprises or a satisfying pay off.

Rock & Roll Rip-off has me once again puzzled by the high-star ratings and rave reviews sometimes given to mediocre books. I don't think a true mystery lover will find this story worth their time and effort. There are definitely better choices out there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the First Book - This One's Okay, April 13, 2011
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This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Rock & Roll Mystery Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I'd actually give Rock & Roll Rip-Off 3.5 stars if that were possible. One of the main reasons this isn't a 4 or 5 star review is that while the first book (Rock & Roll Homicide) is written first person, this one isn't. I can't imagine why not - I don't think I've ever seen a series go from first to third person perspective before, and the thing I liked best about the first book was being in Jason's head, as it were. I liked seeing things from his perspective. I was happy to see some recurring characters from Jason's assistant to the cop who worked with him last time.

The plot seemed to get a bit out of control, but the good guys prevailed. Jason's relationship with his father and his girlfriend seem unresolved, and don't really seem to develop, but they're okay.

Overall, I'd read another book in the series if the author would be so kind as to write one. And I'd hope the next one would be written from Jason's perspective ;)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs an editor, June 3, 2012
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This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Rock & Roll Mystery Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Still slogging my way through this to see how it turns out. Not a bad story and interesting characters. But there are weird continuity gaps and the author does not seem to know how to stay in the right tense. He writes in the third person but uses present tense in descriptions. For example, "Although he isn't an actual albino, his status as an actual werewolf remains questionable." Other times, he gets it right: "Jeannine was all smiles when Jason returned to the office." The use of the past tense is correct here. This problem is frequent enough that it makes reading the book annoying.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Rip-Off At All, January 25, 2011
This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Hardcover)
I was a huge fan of RJ McDonnell's first book, Rock and Roll Homicide. It's a definite West of Mars recommended read; there's so much great stuff happening in it.

So I was excited when I was told by friends that RJ's second book, Rock and Roll Rip-Off was even better.

The plot certainly was. It's clever: our friend Jason Duffy is hired to recover a stolen memorabilia collection. That's not so clever, maybe, although it most certainly is unique (and I love unique). It's the details -- and in McDonnell's world, it is ALL about the details -- that set this story apart. The collector is a good guy who relied on his collections, culled from friends he's made over the years, to make up for his paltry salary as a studio musician. He's got college tuition to pay for; he'd been relying on being able to sell off certain items to make the payments. His friends who help supply his collection know what the score is. They support him, making this a refreshing turn in an age of celebrities who won't sign autographs lest they show up on eBay.

The folk behind the heist aren't your ordinary bad guys, either. In fact, the one main character, a woman, introduces one heck of a moral story: how far will you go for someone you love? To what end will you go to realize your dreams?

To McDonnell's credit, he doesn't dwell on these moral issues. Good thing; he's too busy letting Jason, Jeannine, and Shamansky -- along with Dad Jim (oy, the names that start with the same letter... including in this book, a John) -- do their thing. When this team gets going (complete with Tourette's sufferer Cory), there's nothing that will stand in their way. Even assassins can't get one over on Jason; he's just too slick.

One of the strengths of this series is each character's particular quirks. Jason's the most sane of the lot; he's our steady influence. Shamansky's a foodie hiding behind a gruff cop exterior, Dad Jim is possibly the only likeable bigot on the planet, Jeannine is locked into a world defined by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Each of these characters lives and breathes.

In short, McDonnell is a master at creating characters. He's got great plot ideas, and no one can doubt he knows his rock and roll world.

So why isn't this guy a household name? He should be. He's solid in all these areas, including plot tension and the need to know what comes next. Really. What's the issue?

I mentioned some rough editing when I reviewed Rock and Roll Homicide. In Rip-Off, it got worse. Oh, the cymbals are still symbols, and the one character drives a Camero. Those are annoying, of course. But in this book, the major problem is a tendency to slip into present tense. It is almost as if McDonnell were leaving notes for himself -- notes he forgot to incorporate into the prose.

This is where I go nuts. McDonnell's got the story. He's got the bad guys, some of whom are truly awful and some who are likeable. In Rip-Off, these characters prove my oft-repeated mantra that desperate people do dumb things. It's fun to watch them mess up, even as we're rooting for them to come clean and make right by the victim.

Best of all, because they are so real, Jason and company linger beyond the end of the story. I'm anxious to read a third book featuring them. I love the twists and turns, the way McDonnell escalates the action and the ante for his core characters. I love the well-placed harmonica and how real it is when Jason needles his father and makes his mother play peacemaker. I love the music world and how McDonnell incorporates it and brings us inside it.

If I could take an author along with me on my rock and roll journey, it would most likely be McDonnell. He's got the right blend that I'm looking for -- making the people who inhabit this often-seeming glamorous world into ordinary folk. He brings them down to a human level, and he avoids the usual cliches as he does so.

This, folks, is what rock and roll fiction ought to be about. Focus on that, ignore the typos that make this ex-copy editor wish she could take a pass through the next Jason Duffy book, and have yourself some rockin' fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot New Mystery Series, October 11, 2010
This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Hardcover)
RJ McDonnell rocks and rolls into a unique premise for a mystery series with "Rock and Roll Rip-Off," the second of his books.

He has the stuff we love in our mysteries: a wise-cracking good guy investigating the creeps involved in drugs and murder. We also get an insider's peek at the music industry, which is a lot of fun. Now set the story in San Diego, and the exotic locales and favorites places of anyone who knows that city make you want to jump on a plane and get there to feel the sea breezes.

While you're in San Diego, make sure our hero Jason Duffy is by your side. He can handle the bad guys through luck, pluck, and whatever else it may take. What he can't handle is his love life. I loved his girlfriend because she's not some bimbo and she's not a sidekick. She's a lady!

McDonnell keeps things rolling with surprising twists of the plot, BOOM, right out of the oleander bushes, there's something happening. Between his hilariously meddling parents and his very smart girlfriend who's on to his waffling in his commitment to their relationship, "Rock & Roll Rip-off" is an entertaining read.

I'm going back to pick up the first book, "Rock and Roll Homicide" as soon as I can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!, May 22, 2010
This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Hardcover)
Nonstop, edge-of-your-seat action! Rock & Roll Rip-Off is the second book in McDonnell's Rock & Roll Mystery Series. Jason Duffy is a P.I.-ex-musician, with a psyche degree and experience as a mental health counselor. His employees are past patients. His clients are from the world of rock & roll. The characters draw you into their world and the plot keeps you turning pages.

McDonnell's writing is full of suspense, mystery, and humor. A unique and fun series that had me hooked from the start!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars rock and roll ripoff, July 21, 2012
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This review is from: Rock & Roll Rip-Off (Rock & Roll Mystery Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
T he story was very good but it moved to slow and had to much unimportant details that had no bearing on the story . It would move a lot better without all the unnecessary details.
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