Travel back to 1978 San Francisco. The summer of love is long over. The dot com bubble is decades away. It’s a city filled with poverty, drugs and biker gangs. The Rolling Stones have a disco hit, Missing You, for goodness sakes! It is a Bad Scene, man. Baaaad.
Private investigator Colleen gets a tip from a friend that a city supervisor is planning on killing the mayor. The motive is the mayor’s support of a gay rights bill. When the friend gets beaten severely and dumped into a dumpster, Colleen investigates.
Meanwhile, Colleen is also looking for her nineteen-year-old daughter, Pamela. Pamela has never forgiven her mother for killing her father, even though Colleen had paid for her crime in prison. Pamela was last seen with a cult called the Moon Ranch. The Ranch is a suicide cult led by a not-so-benevolent leader, Brother Adem.
It may be hard to believe but the assassination is based on a true crime. It actually jumpstarted Dianne Feinstein’s career. It was also the first use of the “Twinkie defense” that junk food was the real culprit.
Revisiting 1978 was fun. I had forgotten my joy of using the auto-erase key on the IBM Selectric typewriter. And the difficulty of replacing the correction tape. The era’s style and small details are replicated perfectly in this book. Kudos to the author since most books get it at least slightly wrong.
Even if you don’t remember 1978, Bad Scene is an enthralling choice for noir thriller readers. 4 stars!
Thanks to Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.