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Tie Die: A Colleen Hayes Mystery


Tie Die: A Colleen Hayes Mystery

San Francisco, 1978. Premium gasoline costs almost 70 cents per gallon. Armistead Maupin’s pop culture phenomenon, TALES OF THE CITY, takes the country by storm. And novice, unlicensed private investigator Colleen Hayes takes on the case of kidnapped Melanie Cook, the 11-year-old daughter of former British teen rock star Steve Cook.

The thing is, Cook can’t file a police report. He fled the UK 12 years before, leaving the nude body of underaged Brenda Pike in his hotel bed, dead from a drug overdose. Moreover, quasi PI Hayes skirts legal boundaries, convicted of murdering her husband. He “had wound up with a screwdriver in his neck, on the kitchen floor, thanks to Colleen” --- a flashback eerily reminiscent of Stephen King’s DOLORES CLAIBORNE, in which the title character’s daughter, Selena, is abused by her father. (Selena’s repressed memory involves what she thought was a screwdriver in her dad’s pocket.)

"Plot twists that rival gnarled Joshua Tree branches will intrigue noir detective readers, and Kinsey Millhone fans will find this a thrilling mystery 'tie die' for."

“It’s not easy to lie to an investigator.” Hayes discerns that Cook has “been set up like a bowling pin” by ex-wife Lynda and her father, Rex. Both are film and recording moguls. They scheme to exchange the $20,000 ransom demand for Cook’s song catalog, which is worth millions. Cook has “the ex from hell…a thoroughbred ratbag.” The payoff goes horribly wrong; Lynda is murdered in her home, and Melanie is missing. “What had been a hoax was now the real thing,” the ante upped an additional $30,000.

The presumptive PI jets to London, where she unravels threads tied to Cook’s former manager, Sir Ian Ellis, and “roadie” Everett Cole --- and Brenda Pike’s recalcitrant parents. There are enough threads to knit a chain leading to the scoundrels who absconded with the ransom and Melanie.

An explosive conclusion that rivals the shoot-’em-up scene from Gunfight at the O.K. Corral catapults Colleen Hayes into the PI Hall of Fame. As one character correctly assesses, chutzpah: “Cojones, lady. You’ve certainly got ’em.”

Plot twists that rival gnarled Joshua Tree branches will intrigue noir detective readers, and Kinsey Millhone fans will find this a thrilling mystery “tie die” for.

In addition to the series launch, VANISHING IN THE HAIGHT, Max Tomlinson --- who was born in San Francisco --- has penned six novels, including those in the Sendero series; LETHAL DISPATCH, a stand-alone title; and the Agency series.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on September 11, 2020

Tie Die: A Colleen Hayes Mystery
by Max Tomlinson

  • Publication Date: September 8, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1608093433
  • ISBN-13: 9781608093434