Max Tomlinson is back with my favorite character, Colleen Hayes, an ex-con (she stabbed her abusive husband, who could blame her) now private investigator in the 1960s/70s. This series began in the 1960s but with Bad Scene we’ve moved into the groovin 70s, an era filled with disco music, cults and political upheaval. God, I loved the 70s and I absolutely LOVED Bad Scene.
Colleen gets a tip from her source, Lucky, that there is going to be an assassination of the Mayor of San Francisco. The group responsible for the information turns out to be skinhead biker group that also holds clues to the whereabouts of Colleens daughter – a cult in South America that is striving for perfection through death via an erupting volcano. If any of this sounds familiar, it is. There is a lot of fact interspersed throughout Bad Scene and those of us who lived through the 70s will instantly recognize the murder of Harvey Milk and insanity of Jim Jones and his suicide cult. One would think the US had learned their lesson from cults but apparently not.
Colleen is ever fearless and and she charges full steam ahead trying to solve all of the above before anyone dies. Unfortunately, she only succeeds at a portion of her goals. Bad Scene is a fabulous piece of crime fiction with a well developed, strong female lead set in an era that is ripe for crime stories. Honestly, I’m so sick of WWII that I will read any historical fiction set in the 60s and 70s – thank you Mr. Tomlinson!! Now, somehow I missed the second book in the series so I’m going back to that one today. If you haven’t read any of these, go! Now! Grab the first one, Vanishing in the Haight and get started, although they all can be read as stand alone books as well. Please, Max, please don’t let this be the last of the series!!!