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Desert Kill Switch
Nostalgia City Mystery #2
Mark S. Bacon

Minotaur Books
September 30, 2017/ ISBN 978-1626947191
Mystery, Private Investigator

Reviewed by Robin Thomas

Lyle Deming was a policeman suffering from post-traumatic stress. He decides to make a lifestyle change walking away from his life as a cop and takes a job as a cab driver at a theme park located in Arizona. Nostalgia City recreates the 1970s in every way, from the muscle cars, era clothing and architecture to their restriction on cell phones, laptops, tablets or any other devices that were not available during that era.

Lyle and his daughter are enjoying a drive through the desert when they see a vintage Pontiac Firebird parked on the side of the road. This is just the type of car that would be available to rent at the theme park. He gets out to take a look at the car and finds a bullet-riddled body lying on the ground beside the car. Lyle reports the situation to the local police and here is where the whodunit kicks in. The police go out to investigate but there is not crime scene because the car and the dead body have disappeared. The police are well aware that Deming’s mental health issues and want to believe him, but without a crime scene there isn’t much that they can do. Lyle decides to investigate on his own to prove that he was not hallucinating and that the crime really occurred.

Kate Sorenson; an executive at Nostalgia City, is in Reno, Nevada manning a booth at a Rockin’ Summer Days trade show. There she meets Al Busick, a sleazy car dealer who is hated by everyone who knows him. Al preys on low income buyers; he installs a “kill switch” into the cars that allows him to disable the vehicle if a payment is missed. Kate gets into a nasty altercation with Al that is observed by a number of attendees at the trade show. Things would have died down if Al was not found dead the following day and of course Kate is the prime suspect. Kate calls Lyle to help her find the murderer before the police arrest her.

Kate and Lyle have been an “item” in the past and he drops everything, including his own investigation, to help her. They quickly learn that the list of people who hated Busick is very long, making it real difficult to find the killer in time.

Desert Kill Switch is the second book in the Nostalgia City series. I found it easy to read this book without having read the first one. Bacon has a knack for using his prose to bring the desert and the 1970’s theme park to life for the reader. The author guides the reader through the two crimes in an effortless manner that is easy to follow and full of suspense.

Desert Kill Switch is a well written whodunit that was a blast to read. The author masterfully the 1970’s to life again, laced with a wickedly suspenseful whodunit.

Reviewed 2018