cover image Desert City Diva

Desert City Diva

Corey Lynn Fayman. Severn, $28.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8548-7

In Fayman’s funky third Rolly Waters mystery (after 2013’s Border Field Blues), the guitar-playing San Diego, Calif., PI borrows an ornate diddley bow (a one-string guitar) from Macy Starr, a fetching dance club DJ he meets in a cantina one night. The unusual instrument has a laminated picture on the back of a baseball player and a teenage girl that Macy thinks may be her Aunt Betty. Raised on the (fictional) Jincona Indian reservation by adoptive parents, Macy suspects Betty is her mother. Rolly, who recognizes the ballplayer as a local who’s unlikely to be Macy’s father, shows the diddley bow to guitar shop owner Rob Norwood. Coincidentally, Norwood happens to know that Randy Parker of a store called Alien Artifacts is looking to buy this particular instrument. A visit to Alien Artifacts begins a strange journey that takes Rolly and Macy to Slab City, an unincorporated enclave of hippies near the Salton Sea, where members of a cult, Universal Vibration Technologies, died tragically years before. Offbeat characters and popular musical lore distinguish this decidedly unusual tale. (Jan.)