San Diego, 1942
Following Pearl Harbor, Tom Hickey and a partner open a supper club, Rudy's Hacienda, in downtown San Diego, a few blocks from the harbor. The club begins to make Tom wealthy. He's glad to be making money. His wife Madeline, part gold-digger, has wearied of living in decent but modest circumstances. Tom's ticket to wealth is Cynthia Moon, the club's jazz singer who enraptures admirals, generals, and tycoons. When she disappears, it's not only concern for the girl that sends him searching.
The hunt carries him to the village of Mount Shasta and into the web of a Hindu-inspired occultist. Though he doesn't find Cynthia, he deduces her motive for disappearing. And he learns the first part of her desperate plan, which sends him to Denver in search of a hit man.
Back in San Diego, he deduces the rest of her plan. He speeds across the border in hopes of arriving in time to stop her, and perhaps break the spell of her madness and despair.
▪ “Kuhlken’s re-creation of wartime America is right on the mark.” San Diego Union Tribune
▪ "Mysticism, a journal full of poetic folklore, and the noir-like dialog push an especially complex plot from start to finish. Along with Gaylord Dold and Max Allan Collins, Kuhlken joins the ranks of P.I. authors presenting their character in a historical setting and pulling the deed off with skill and grace. Highly recommended." Mystery Scene
Ken gives an overview of the book:
San Diego, 1942
Ken Kuhlken’s stories have appeared in Esquire and dozens of other magazines, and anthologies, been honorably mentioned in Best American Short Stories, and earned a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He has been a frequent contributor and a columnist for the San...