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Desert City Diva grooves to an unearthly beat

Desert City Diva: a noir mystery set in California

By Corey Lynn Fayman

Severn House

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: January 1, 2016


A darkly humorous noir mystery featuring laidback, guitar-playing private investigator Rolly Waters.

Rolly Waters has many reasons to regret going out for Mexican food at 2.30 in the morning. Not least because then he would never have met dance-club DJ Macy Starr – possibly the most infuriatingly unpredictable and secretive client he has ever taken on.

Macy Starr wants Rolly to find out what happened to the young woman she knew as Aunt Betty, the woman who rescued her as a child and who then disappeared without trace. The only clue she has to go on is a curious one-stringed guitar.

Rolly’s investigation leads to a weird world of alien-obsessed cults, a strange desert hideaway known as Slab City – and to a 20-year-old unsolved murder case. But how can he solve the mystery if he can’t even trust his own client?


Weird and wonderful are two words that can be used to describe Desert City Diva. The novel is a great reminder that there is no such thing as a “normal” person. There are only degrees of weird.

Rolly Waters is an easy going, guitar playing PI with more heart than good sense. It comes as no surprise that when he meets the enigmatic DJ Macy Starr (Crazy Macy) he leaps to her aid. Macy Starr is looking for her Aunt Betty, the woman who brought her to her adopted family before disappearing without a trace. Her only clues are a one string guitar with a picture on the back and a strange necklace.

Rolly doesn’t expect to be drawn into a world of alien cultists obsessed with gold as means of connecting with the divine, or to join forces with a group of off the grid musicians as comfortable with guns as with instruments. Going with the flow, however, is nothing new to Waters, and he is more than willing to delve into the oddities, including those of his client.

I would say the mystery is improbable, but the reality is, people do and believe strange things. There is something about Rolly that makes people open up to him and accept him. He observes but he doesn’t judge, and he has friends on both sides of the legal fence.

Desert City Diva won’t appeal to every reader, but those looking for something unusual and offbeat will likely enjoy this mystery. While there isn’t a lot of violence, Desert City Diva is more noir than cozy.


Desert City Diva is available for preorder and will be released January 1, 2016.

I received a copy of Desert City Diva from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.


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