Desert City Diva

Hardcover $24.95

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?

Offbeat characters and popular musical lore distinguish this decidedly unusual tale. (Publishers Weekly)

Fans of wisecracking California crime solvers will enjoy this working-class PI with a poet’s soul. (Booklist)

Border Field Blues

Trade Paperback, $9.95

Murder, sex, politics, and classic rock guitar collide in this original and compelling mystery set in the backcountry along the San Diego-Tijuana border, when a violent encounter between a young border-crosser and an angry bandit creates a secret and shocking bond between the boy and the bandit’s dumbfounded daughter. But when recovering guitarist and reluctant private detective Rolly Waters arrives at Border Field Park early one morning, he’s only there to help his bird-watching friend Max find the vandals who’ve destroyed a sensitive bird nesting area. Feeling less than optimistic about nabbing the perpetrators, Rolly begins his due diligence, crossing paths with a local border vigilante, a tormented vaquero, and an aging rock groupie. A menacing house call from a scalpel-wielding orderly in pursuit of a prostitute named for an eighties pop hit confounds his case further. And when police detective Bonnie Hammond hands him a coroner’s report, he knows it’s turned deadly.

As their separate cases dovetail into one, Rolly and Bonnie negotiate a prickly partnership, dragged into a dark world of human trafficking and sexual abuse as they uncover tantalizing connections to an old murder case. Bonnie presses ahead with her official investigation, while Rolly turns to his wisecracking network of bohemian friends, trying to connect the red-haired seductress on a banned album cover to a popular video game. As opposing political organizations mobilize for a confrontation in the shadow of the Tijuana’s Bullring-By-The-Sea, Rolly races to save a willful young Mexican girl, his only link to the crimes that will test his psyche, his allegiances, and one family’s unspeakable past.

Black's Beach Shuffle

Trade Paperback, $9.95

Rolly Waters is a recovering rock musician and part-time private eye. One night his band performs at a blowout party for EyeBitz.com, a fast-rising Internet startup that has the city of San Diego talking. When Rolly returns after hours to retrieve his guitar from the host’s mansion, he finds a dead body floating in the swimming pool. His discovery sets in motion a series of intrigues that drag him into the surreal world of dot.com culture, as well as the dark heart of his own uneven past.

Black’s Beach Shuffle updates the classic Southern California gumshoe world of Raymond Chandler and Ross McDonald with contemporary technology riffs, new millennium anxieties and sun-blotted humor. It pumps out a page-turning mix of plot twists, colorful characters and laugh-out-loud humor as Rolly’s investigation ricochets him from the high-tech industrial parks of Torrey Pines Mesa to downtown blues clubs, from street taco shops to the penthouse of the La Jolla Hyatt, from the hallowed halls of academia to the sands of Black’s Beach, San Diego’s official clothing-optional playground.