Bad Scene: A Colleen Hayes Mystery

Max Tomlinson. Oceanview, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-60809-345-8

The real-life Nov. 27, 1978, murders of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk provide the backdrop for Tomlinson’s enjoyable third mystery featuring PI and ex-con Colleen Hayes (2020’s Tie Die). A few weeks earlier, one of Colleen’s sources, Lucky, overheard members of a neo-Nazi biker gang talk about a plot to assassinate the mayor and tipped her off. After Lucky is beaten almost to death, Colleen goes undercover to infiltrate the biker gang to learn more. Colleen’s local police contacts are skeptical of the information she shares about the plot, leaving her to pursue the case on her own. When Colleen gets word her estranged daughter, Pam, is living in an Ecuadorian compound as a member of a cult with a doomsday plan, she drops her investigations to rescue her daughter. Colleen succeeds in getting Pam back to San Francisco, where resuming the search for the assassin results in endangering her daughter’s life. Though the doomsday scenario may strike some as far-fetched, the fast-paced action, colorful setting, and realistic mother-daughter dynamic help make this entry a winner. Readers will look forward to Colleen’s further exploits. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Aug.)