“I moved to San Diego in the 1980s and intended to earn a living as a musician,” says author R.J. McDonnell, whose just-released Rock & Roll Homicide novel is set amidst the local music scene. “However, I shattered my wrist a few months after my arrival and my plans changed.”
The book concerns Little Italy native Jason Duffy, a musician-turned—private eye investigating the death of a local singer. Suspects among the murdered singer’s band include an alcoholic drug-addict drummer on the verge of being booted from the group, a bassist who camouflages his rock-star status by living in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, and a lead guitarist who wrote half of the band’s songs and lives beyond his means.
The investigation takes Duffy to a Mission Beach bar that resembles London’s West End in P.B., a T.G.I. Friday’s in El Cajon, Jake’s restaurant in Del Mar, and a Steve Poltz concert at the Belly Up. He also makes trips to Rancho Santa Fe, Cardiff, Alpine, and Southeast San Diego.
“My depiction of San Diego as home to a record label featuring an emerging headline act is my way of acknowledging the quality of music originating in San Diego,” says McDonnell, who resided locally for 26 years but now lives in Pennsylvania. “My love for music and belief in the San Diego music scene has never changed.”
McDonnell’s book is available on Amazon and at rockandrollhomicide.com.
– Jay Allen Sanford