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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Thursday's guest blog is by author R.J. McDONNELL - please give him a big welcome!

 

Be sure to check out R.J.'s website here: http://www.rjmcdonnell.com/

 

You can find him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/#!/rjmcdonnell7

 



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becke_davis
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RJ McDonnell is the son of a Pennsylvania State Police Detective. His father received several citations and decorations over the years for solving complex and high-profile crimes. One of his cases was featured in "True Detective" magazine. Another was the subject of "A Justice Story," the centerfold of the Sunday New York Post for many years. In addition to a traditional education, RJ also had the benefit of seeing every police detective drama on television and in the movies. His father would frequently critique these stories for believability of characters and police procedures.

But instead of becoming the third generation of McDonnell’s to enter the police force, RJ found that his talents lie elsewhere. In high school, he was fortunate to have an exceptional English teacher, Donald Walton, who exposed him to an exciting cross-section of American literature and sparked his interest in the Mystery genre.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree at Penn State University and a Masters at Marywood University. During his college years RJ was a rhythm guitarist and vocalist in two bands. Shortly thereafter, he moved to San Diego where he went to work for a professional writing service. In addition, he wrote a monthly column for the Military Press, and another for a San Diego publication, providing advice to job seekers.

In the 90s, RJ discovered he had a knack for comedy writing. He wrote for a local San Diego cable television show that had a Saturday Night Live-type format. Over its two seasons on the air, 34 of his skits were produced. 

While he continued to work as a professional nonfiction writer, his creative juices were now flowing. After college, RJ's interest in crime stories transitioned from television and movies into novels. He discovered that the lack of detail and intricacies that his father complained about were abundant in the novel format. 

"Rock & Roll Homicide" is the first novel in a series featuring private investigator, Jason Duffy. The second novel, "Rock & Roll Rip-Off," was released 3/29/10. RJ is currently writing the third novel in the series, which will be Jason's first serial killer case.

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The Citizens' Voice, 11/7/10

Feature article in the Arts & Entertainment Section of this Wilkes-Barre, PA newspaper entitled, "Literacy Through Music."  To read the full article click here:

 

http://citizensvoice.com/arts-living/local-author-promotes-books-programs-with-acoustic-guitar-1.1059...

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becke_davis
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Rock and Roll Homicide  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just as the rock band, Doberman’s Stub, was about to reach stadium tour status, its leader was brutally murdered when his headphones exploded during a recording session. The widow, who inherits $5 million, is the San Diego Police Department’s number one suspect. She hires Jason Duffy, a 27-year-old PI in his first year of private practice, in spite of his background as a former musician.

 

Jason learns that the victim was also a very skilled contract negotiator, who was in the middle of an acrimonious renegotiation with the record company at the time of his death. He also finds that the record company has a very unhealthy tie to the Russian Mafia.

 

As an inexperienced detective, Jason does not yet have the contacts within the police department to gather vital information. He is forced to mend fences with his estranged father, an opinionated ex-SDPD detective.

 

While Jason investigates the record company, he also takes a close look at the three surviving members of the victim’s band. One is an alcoholic/drug addict drummer, on the verge of being kicked out of the group. The second is a bass player who camouflages his rock star status by living in an ordinary house in a lower middle-class neighborhood. Third is a lead guitarist and writer of half of the band’s songs, who lives well beyond his means.

 

Jason has not yet become hardened to the very real dangers of his new profession. We experience his inner conflict as his girlfriend, staff, and family are drawn into the danger zone.

 

After Jason’s part-time employee is severely beaten during a stakeout, he sells the story of the Russian Mafia’s involvement in the record business to a tabloid journalism TV show in a misguided effort to protect his employer and coworker. This serves to drive the case to new heights of danger and suspense.

 



Jason goes behind the industry veneer of sex & drugs & hedonistic lifestyles. He shows us how the 21st Century world of downloads, file sharing, and image demographics need to be considered in a case of Rock & Roll Homicide.

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Rock & Roll Rip-Off  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read a two chapter excerpt of "Rock & Roll Rip-Off" click here.

 

 

Jason Duffy thought he had accepted a routine burglary case when a career studio musician hired him to recover a memorabilia collection featuring unusual treasures from some of the top performers in the music industry. But Jason quickly finds himself at the top of a hit list that has nothing to do with The Top 40 and everything to do with a table for one at the San Diego Coroner’s Office.

 

While the facts of the case point to an emo band that the victim was helping at the time of the theft, the lethal force that Jason encounters in his investigation feels more like death metal. He finds himself imperiled by a hitman known as The Heartbreaker, due to his signature of shooting his victims through the heart at close range. With danger also threatening his staff and girlfriend, Jason must continue to mend fences with his retired police detective father, in spite of a recent riff that caused a major setback to their relationship.

 

Everyone thought The Tactile Tattoo was a “can’t miss” band. The pre-release buzz for their first CD was tremendous. But a bad review from a key industry critic, who didn’t care for their lyrics, left the album stillborn at record stores across the country.

 

The group soon learned that second chances in the current state of the music business are practically nonexistent. One band member discovered that money talks in an industry strapped for cash, and a bribe was entirely possible. However, funding that bribe meant getting involved with all of the wrong people.

 

In the midst of this action whodunit, the reader is treated to an insider’s view of the music industry that captures the new obstacles that today’s bands must overcome in order to succeed. Some musicians handle the pressures, opportunities, and disappointments more effectively than others.  Some still succumb to the mesmerizing allure of sex and drugs and rock & roll.

 

Rock & Roll Rip-Off is the second novel in RJ McDonnell’s Rock & Roll Mystery Series.

 

Like the critically acclaimedRock & Roll Homicide, McDonnell once again mixes humor, music, and a cast of unique characters to unfold a memorable mystery that shows Jason and a loved one “knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.”

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Cops & Rockers

by R.J. McDonnell

 

            Having a father who was on the cover of True Detective Magazine was a mixed blessing in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a time of social and political activism; a time to experiment and take risks. My classmates were literally letting their hair down, and reveling in their antiestablishment attitudes. However, the vast majority of these neuvo-risk-takers were not willing to press their luck by including the cop’s kid in their plans. I didn’t get invited to many keg parties in high school, and the word “pot” was always followed by the word “roast” in my pre-college lexicon.

            Looking back, I believe it was my view from the periphery that helped me to gain perspective and later turn sights, sounds, feelings, and experiences into words. Following high school, my love for music brought me into the world of the “cool” people for the first time. I played in a couple of acoustic bands, and managed a talented local rock band. Two of the members of that band went on to form a group with Noel Redding of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

            Needless to say, Dad wasn’t terribly thrilled with my long hair and “hippie” friends. At the time, major league baseball had an ad campaign showing a traditional dad watching baseball with his long-haired son. A voice-over said: “When we can’t agree on anything else, there’s always baseball.” The ad captured our relationship, except, instead of baseball, we watched crime dramas. Afterwards, Dad would critique them for authenticity of plot and characters. We didn’t know it at the time, but Dad was helping me to develop a set of tools that would serve me well later in life.

            My interest in television crime dramas transitioned into reading detective novels shortly after my father passed away in 1977. The lack of character depth and plot development that Dad frequently complained about became abundant in the novel format. My interest in reading detective novels led several of my relatives to believe I was a Criminal Justice major in grad school, destined to follow in my father’s footsteps.

My rock & roll dreams ended in 1980 when I shattered my left wrist in an accident. So, I moved on to another passion, and worked as a non-fiction writer for over 15 years before writing my first detective fiction novel.

My series protagonist, Jason Duffy, represents the convergence of two roads not taken for me. He was a club musician who stopped playing professionally when he started his apprenticeship as a private investigator. The main subplot involves Jason slowly mending fences with his retired police detective father, who occasionally helps him with his cases.  Contrasting the sobering realities of murder and fence mending is a fair amount of humor in between the action scenes. Maybe having a police detective father, who kept me from growing up too quickly, wasn’t such a mixed blessing after all.

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Hi, R.J., welcome to the mystery thread. I loved your blog and can appreciate you following your dreams. If you have a passion to do something, do it, as the opportunity may not come again. I will definitely be looking for your books.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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RJMcDonnell
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Thanks, Maxcat. I think you're right on target with the theme of following your passion. I started my writing career working for a resume service, and was appalled by the number of people who barely endure their jobs for the sake of the paycheck. Yes, we all have to eat. But if we ignore the intrinsic rewards, the bad attitude is bound to follow us home.

RJ McDonnell
Rock & Roll Mystery Series
www.rjmcdonnell.com
@RJMcDonnell7
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

I have to apologize to RJ for posting this on the wrong day. After I told him I was going to post it Thursday for Friday, I put it up last night - and it didn't hit me for a good two hours that it was WEDNESDAY! I had some family issues that distracted me, but still! Geesh, how embarrassing! A big thanks to RJ for bearing with me!

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moonshineDH
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

RJ does a good job of describing how the industry works: well researched and easy to follow. I love mysteries and I love to learn: he combines both in his work. I also have great admiration for RJ for following his dream and letting the rest of us know that it is never too late!

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HKST76
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Hello RJ.  This is truly sweet to read.  You & your Dad found a common ground that helped inspired the great writtings you do!  I'm sure he would be so proud of you!  Looking forward to your third book.

 

 

 

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moonshineDH wrote:

RJ does a good job of describing how the industry works: well researched and easy to follow. I love mysteries and I love to learn: he combines both in his work. I also have great admiration for RJ for following his dream and letting the rest of us know that it is never too late!


I'll second that, Moonshine! Thanks for joining us!

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becke_davis
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HKST76 wrote:

Hello RJ.  This is truly sweet to read.  You & your Dad found a common ground that helped inspired the great writtings you do!  I'm sure he would be so proud of you!  Looking forward to your third book.

 

 

 


Thanks for joining us!

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RJMcDonnell
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Thanks for your words of encouragement Moonshine and HKST76. It's truly great with family ties can overcome generational chasms in both fiction and the real world.

RJ McDonnell
Rock & Roll Mystery Series
www.rjmcdonnell.com
@RJMcDonnell7
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SheriWilkinson
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Awesome books. Thank you for sharing this blog! RJ McDonnell keeps readers on the edge of their seats!

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SheriWilkinson
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

RJ,

I truly love your books. The characters are so fresh , new and likable! The perfect blend of mystery/suspense and humor! Thank you for this interview!

Sheri:womanhappy:

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stephtoffey
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

RJ,

 

How wonderful to turn such fond memories of your father into such an exciting career.  I have read both of your books and have found them to be well written and entertaining.  Your passion for writing and the music industry shows in your work.  I'm excited to read the next adventure of Jason Duffy, I love a great mystery!

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BookAddictFL
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

Wow, RJ, you've become quite the famous guy! Look at this big spread about you. :smileyhappy: Funny how our parents instill things upon us, despite our best effort to go our own way. Your dad gave you a great base for crime writing.

 

I'm a big fan of RJ's Rock & Roll Mystery series. I've read the first two and I'm looking forward to the third.

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suns56
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Re: Guest Blog by Author R J McDonnell

     

              I have read Rock and Roll Homicide by Mr. Mcdonnell and was most entertained by the use of music and murder. I am looking forward to Cops and Rockers as I am an avid golfer and the murder and golfing together makes it a read I cannot wait to read! Always look forward to authors who can use sports and mystery to entertain!  Thanks RJ!

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becke_davis
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SheriWilkinson wrote:

Awesome books. Thank you for sharing this blog! RJ McDonnell keeps readers on the edge of their seats!


I'm so glad he wrote this blog for us, Sheri - isn't it great?