The mystery plot is solid although the premise of rock and roll being the “devil’s music” is as old as rock and roll and the religious fanatic as serial killer has been done to death. Although I can’t think of one off the top of my head, I’d be amazed if combining the two hasn’t been done before too. None of this mattered to me. A completely new story idea doesn’t exist. What does matter is whether McDonnell added his own spin to keep me engrossed and entertained. This he did, with humor and fun, eccentric characters.
Jason Duffy, the lead character in this series, has a unique history as a musician and working with outpatient mental health patients prior to becoming a private investigator. He also has a sense of humor that keeps the reader entertained during the inevitable points in the story that are less tense or action packed. Jason alone might be enough. However, there are a slew of secondary characters who are fun and quirky as well. Many of these I’d guess are, or will be, recurring in the series. Duffy’s two employees are both former mental health clients. Jeannine, the assistant and researcher with a touch of OCD, and the tech-savvy Cory who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, act as foils for Duffy’s humor and add plenty of their own. Duffy’s retired cop dad and mother along with his girlfriend Kelly all put Duffy in situations that are good for laughs. Bernie Liebowitz (the owner of Duffy’s favorite music club and frequent confidante) was another of my favorites. I’ve read books that made me laugh out loud before, but never a mystery that did it like this one. Now I’m going to backtrack to the first two books of the series.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **