Today’s character guest is Jason Duffy from the very cool Rock & Roll Mystery Series by RJ McDonnell.
I had lunch yesterday with my new office neighbor who is a resume writer and career coach. I expected him to tell me I was wasting my education as a private investigator. Instead, we had a very enlightening meal.
My name is Jason Duffy. If my original career plan had worked out you may have recognized my name from MTV, Rolling Stone Magazine, or your iTunes collection. Just prior to my high school graduation I was recruited to be in a metal band comprised of the top young musicians in San Diego County. Our band, Tsunami Rush, played covers at the best clubs in Southern California while I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology.
I had so much fun and earned so much money that I re-upped for two more years of clubbing my way through grad school. By that point my dream of stardom began to fade. I took a job as a counselor at a county outpatient mental health center while continuing to play four gigs per week. After two years I came to the realization that no one in Tsunami Rush was capable of writing decent original material. We would never rise above our club band status. I also realized that working in a government bureaucracy was not for me.
After much soul searching I entered the family business on my own terms. I come from a long line of policemen. My father is a retired homicide detective. He hated that his son was a rock musician and made no effort to conceal his feelings. The fact that I saved him a lot of money by working my way through college did nothing to assuage his loathing for my profession.
My resume writer lunch buddy told me that the average person makes eight significant career moves in a lifetime. He also said that more than half of his clients with college degrees worked in fields that had nothing to do with their education. I wished that my high school guidance counselor had access to those stats.
When I started carping about this notion he said that we’re all a product of our past and that he’d be surprised if there weren’t elements of counseling and rock & roll in my PI career. He certainly nailed that
I have two employees: a combination researcher/receptionist and a stakeout specialist/photographer. Both were clients of mine at the outpatient mental health center. Jeannine has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a few phobias while Cory suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. Both are very good at their jobs. The afflictions cause occasional hiccups in an otherwise professional organization, but we get results, and that’s what matters most to our clients.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing on Mission Bay. I came close to folding the business after my first year involved one divorce case after another. I got so disgusted peeking in bedroom and motel windows that I hired Cory to do the dirty work. My big break came when I was hired to solve a case of Rock & Roll Homicide. This involved working for the widow of a slain rock star who also happened to be SDPD’s top suspect. As a total novice, I got help from my estranged dad, my girlfriend, my bandmates, and everyone else who was willing and able.
That investigation generated a referral for a case of Rock & Roll Rip-Off. A career studio musician was relieved of a huge memorabilia collection that was earmarked to finance college for his five children. I didn’t realize at the time that a simple burglary case would lead to a complex music industry murder
So far, the pinnacle of my career involved my pursuit of The Concert Killer. In that case, a serial killer tried to shut down the concert industry by dropping bodies at venues throughout California. I actually made the national news and carved out my own niche in the music industry when the investigation ended.
But instead of fielding offers from rockers around the globe, I then travelled to Pennsylvania in January to help my musician uncle after his best friend was murdered. The case of The Classic Rockers Reunion with Death brought my family to the forefront in ways I never could have foreseen.
I wished I had time for dessert with my new friend, but I’m currently working undercover in the house band of the most exclusive resort in the country – Diamonds on the Shoreline. It’s the #1 destination for millionaires, billionaires, and a particularly nasty Mexican cartel. Wish me luck. Did I mention that my dad is the resort’s head of security? Watch for the case of Diamonds, Clubs, and Rock & Roll this fall.
RJ McDonnell is the son of a Pennsylvania State Police Detective, who received several decorations for solving complex and high-profile crimes. 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.
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 got into 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. Rock & Roll Homicide was the first novel in his Rock & Roll Mystery Series. The second novel, Rock & Roll Rip-Off, was selected 2010 Mystery/Thriller of the Year by
Premier Book Awards.
Connect with RJ in the following places:
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Jason Duffy. Come back on Monday to meet Kristina from the still secretive, upcoming supernatural suspense series by Carmen DeSousa.
Thanks for reading.
Tags: 2013 Mystery Novels, Best Books of 2013, Classic Rockers Reunion with Death, Jason Duffy, mystery series, Mystery Series Authors, PI Characters, PI Fiction, Private Investigators in Mystery Novels, RJ McDonnell, Rock & Roll Homicide, Rock & Roll Mystery Series, Rock & Roll Rip-Off, The Concert Killer