Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Marijuana Murders Review Tour

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.

From Chapter 6

“Legalization’s a good idea,” Lyle said. “Not what you might expect to hear from an ex-cop, but I think you can guess how successful our war on drugs has been. That’s one reason. But listen, I need to tell you what happened. It’s why I came over. At the garage last night—”

“I know all about the accident, Lyle,” Kate said. “I was there this morning when someone found the body. Then Channel Nine arrived and—”

“It was no accident. At least that’s pretty much what Rey Martinez thinks. ”

Kate’s eyes grew large. “Crap. What then?”

“Murder. As soon as I found out, I knew you’d need to know.”

“Murder?” Kate remembered the garage scene that morning and felt a shiver. She would not soon forget the gruesome image. She leaned back in her chair. “It was awful. Horrible. And now…” She imagined getting a flood of excited media calls as soon as the word murder got out. “Who knows about it? Is the sheriff going to announce something? Does security know it was murder? Who killed him?”

When Lyle opened his mouth to speak, Kate interrupted.

“Sorry. One question at a time, right?”

After a year of working with Lyle, off and on, Kate knew the solid, professional side of their relationship. She trusted his judgment—most of the time. He did wear a rubber band on his wrist for his anxiety issues. But she could always rely on his support and counsel, particularly in situations like this when the priorities of law enforcement and park security might differ from Kate’s responsibility to maintain NC’s public image. Personally, she and Lyle were also close, but their nascent relationship moved ahead slowly—as a result of reticence on both sides, for a collection of reasons.

My Review:
4 stars

This was an unusual mystery, and I mean that in a good way. First, the setting is a 70’s theme park, which was a lot of fun to read. Second, the main topic being fought over behind the mystery (marijuana legalization) is a current hot topic, and I enjoyed how the author handled it. Rather than making it a fight between supporters and detractors, it was instead a fight between two different groups of supporters, which added a different spin on the issue and upped the tension. Plus, I could tell the author had researched this issue, as not only was there information about the movement to legalize marijuana, but also on the history of it, which was an interesting side note to the mystery.

Speaking of the mystery, the plot kept twisting and turning, keeping my guessing as the story jumped between various characters side stories, which then wove together to form the overall solution to the mystery. I wish I had gotten to know Kate and Lyle a bit more, which I feel might have been because I started with this book (third in the series). Overall though, I greatly enjoyed this mystery, and look forward to reading the other books in this series.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

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.


Buy Links:
Amazon    |    B&N (e-book)   |    B&N (Print)    |    Apple     |    Smashwords


  1. Emily, thanks for the review. Glad you enjoyed it. If anyone would like to meet my main characters, Kate and Lyle, and see how they got to know each other, the first book in this series will be offered free on Amazon on Aug. 30. Check out "Death in Nostalgia City."

  2. Congratulations on another great review. This is a must read book and series for me!

  3. I bet that being a police crime reporter is interesting. What some people will do to others, boggles the mind.

  4. I've really enjoyed following the tour for The Marijuana Murders and I'm looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for sharing all of the great posts along the way :)

  5. Thanks for sharing your book with us. I think we all enjoy hearing about new books we previously didn't know about. Also, thank you for the giveaway.

  6. Do you have any plans for your next book?