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The Do-Re-Mi [Paperback]

Ken Kuhlken

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2008 California Century Mysteries
It's late summer, 1972, up in California's redwood forests. They seem a "safe and wondrous place," but some of Evergreen's population is growing pot up in the trees and others are bent on stealing it. Then there's the coming folk festival, a jamboree bringing in musicians, fans, war protestors--a ferment of flower power (the local hippies), raw power (the local biker gangs, notably the Cossacks), and the power of the law (local and federal). Skirting the edges are shades of the Manson Family and the Mexican Mafia. Clifford Hickey, scheduled to perform a guitar gig at the festival before trucking off to law school, arrives at his brother Alvaro's peaceful woodland campsite. And within moments Alvaro, combat trained, is faced with six armed men in badges crashing the camp, and runs. Clifford, surprised, is arrested and brutally cuffed, so brutally he fears for his hands. He then learns that a young man, one of the sheriffs' nephews, has just been murdered. Alvaro is the posse's quarry. So here's Clifford, on the brink of adult life, pitched into not just a murder but what develops into a duel between the Hickeys--for his father and mother soon drive up--and the law, between the Hickeys and the Cossacks--who seemingly have their own agenda for Alvaro and, between the Hickeys and the locals, and finally between the Hickeys and their own past. Ken Kuhlken won St. Martin's Best First Private Eye Novel contest for the first Hickey family case, The Loud Adios.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Feb. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590584635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590584637
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.6 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #825,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1972, Kuhlken's fourth mystery to feature the endearing Hickey clan (after 1994's The Angel Gang) follows 22-year-old Clifford Hickey, an aspiring folk singer, as he takes one last stab at a music career before heading to USC law school at the urging of his father, former cop and PI Tom Hickey, the eccentric protagonist of the first three books in the series. Clifford plans to perform at a jamboree in Evergreen, a small town in California redwood country, but shortly after he arrives at his half-brother Alvaro's camp in the woods, the cops storm the site. Alvaro escapes, but Clifford is taken into custody. Later, Alvaro is charged with the murder of a sheriff's nephew, and Clifford must try to prove his brother's innocence in a town filled with vengeful bikers, suspicious locals, crooked cops, rogue federal agents and pot-growing hippies. Kuhlken brings the social and cultural scene of the period vividly to life. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Kuhlken (The Loud Adios, 1991) is back with another tale of the Hickey family. Although father Tom has retired from investigating, his son, Clifford, inadvertently finds himself trapped doing some sleuthing of his own. An amateur guitarist, Clifford, on his way to law school, is scheduled to perform at a folk festival in Evergreen, California. It is the summer of 1972, so the area is full of hippies, war protesters, marijuana farmers, and outlaw bikers. Clifford is supposed to meet his brother, Alvaro, a combat-trained veteran who served in Vietnam, at his campsite. An armed sheriff's posse interrupts their reunion, and Alvaro vanishes into the woods. The sheriff arrests Clifford, who later learns that someone has murdered the sheriff's nephew, and Alvaro is the prime suspect. Trapped in a battle between the law, rival biker gangs, the locals, and his own family, Clifford has an intricate puzzle to solve. Readers will enjoy this tale, which captures the history and atmosphere of 1970s California as well as the complex dynamics of a fascinating family. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1970s California murder mystery excels May 24 2007
By Ed Lynskey, - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's Summer 1972 and Clifford Hickey, 22, has traveled to Evergreen in the California redwood district to play in a folk festival with his brother Alvaro, an Vietnam vet and former drug user. The local sheriff's nephew Jimmy Marris ends up murdered and Alvaro who takes flight becomes the main suspect. Clifford calls in his Pop, a retired, tough-minded P.I. to help shake things out and clear Alvaro's name. This stylish, offbeat, and intricate murder mystery features the eccentric, likeable Hickey family (DO-RE-MI is fourth in the series, the third title THE LOUD ADIOS won a 1991 Shamus award). Lots of 1970s echoes. Phil Ochs headlines the festival. Clifford's friend Nancy lived with the Charlie Manson family. Maverick bikers ("Cossacks"), jaded hippies, and corrupt sheriffs complicate matters for Clifford who might not make it to begin law school in the Fall. Something different, this first-rate P.I. novel spins a compelling tale with a little romance as well.
4.0 out of 5 stars Do-Re-Mi April 4 2009
By Gary Swaim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm not one to do this sort of thing, with any regularity. However, I'm more than happy to recommend this book to any and all, especially those who like the mix of detective/mystery stories with strong intellectual turns. Any time I can read a story like this one (a mix of serious mayhem, a focus on the 60's, reference to "Mood Indigo" and Kirkegaard, and much more in the way of surprises), I'm delighted. Highyly recommend this read!
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful historical private investigate tale Dec 20 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In 1972, twenty two year-old Clifford Hickey gives it one last chance to live his dream of making it as a folk singer. However, though he admires his taciturn ethical private investigator dad Tom, Clifford would prefer not to follow his footsteps into law enforcement; he informs his father that if he fails this time in his music endeavor he plans to enter USC law school.

Clifford is scheduled perform at Evergreen jamboree. He arrives in the midst of the redwoods to stay at the camp of his half-brother Alvaro. However, soon afterwards, cops assault the site with Alvaro fleeing into the woods while Clifford is incarcerated, but eventually freed. Clifford learns that Alvaro has been charged with the murder of a local law enforcement official's relative. He does not believe Alvaro would commit such a crime so taking a page from his sleuthing dad, Clifford notifies his father, but begins to investigate rather than wait for the clever private detective to arrive as time is critical. He soon finds every type of sub-group in town wants Alvaro to take the fall.

The mantle moves on as the son takes center stage from the father (Tom was the focus of the previous books - all worth reading). The story line is driven by Clifford's discovery of social strata circa Viet Nam era California woods where hippies, bikers, Feds, and locals intermingle in a fractured peaceful coexistence. The whodunit is cleverly set up so that Alvaro looks guilty to readers and support cast with only his family believing otherwise. Ken Kuhlken provides flavor of the era inside a wonderful historical private investigate tale.

Harriet Klausner
5.0 out of 5 stars "I couldn't imagine a future..." Nov. 26 2006
By Reader Views - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reviewed by Nina Larson for Reader Views (8/06)

Ahhhh, 1972. Was it a time of flowers, free love, new starts, and new opportunities? Oh, wait. That was 1971. In Ken Kuhlken's new book The Do-Re-Mi, the summer of 1972 was supposed to be just like it. Except Ken's main character learns the hard way that chasing the past can be unsettling as nothing stays the same. And sometimes trying to go back to utopia can be murder.

The book starts with Clifford Hickey heading to a folk music festival where he expects a week of bonding with his brother, hanging out with other musicians, and playing on stage the last day with a faint hope of landing an agent to get his music career going. He figures if he's lucky, he'll get another opportunity to skinny dip with beautiful hippies. He isn't lucky.

The utopia he remembers as being occupied by hippies, returned war veterans, and the locals of the small town of Evergreen has changed. Amazing what greed and drugs will do. The hippies had discovered that free love was wonderful, but eating was good and getting high was even better. In this case you could say money did grow. It just wasn't legal. And the money had attracted bikers. Not the bikers of today, where lawyers ride $30,000 Harleys on weekends, but the biker gangs of 1972. Guys that liked drugs, violence, and money - and not necessarily in that order. The locals were caught in between. Scared of the bikers and contemptuous of the hippies, but needing the money brought in by both.

This combination had been simmering all summer and the week before Clifford arrived, it had reached flash point with the death of a young local. Unfortunately for Clifford, the local police believed his ex-convict war veteran brother had done the deed. Clifford refused to believe that and set out to prove it. As an outsider and brother to a rumored killer, he certainly had his work cut out for him.

In this coming-of-age story, Clifford learns some hard truths about himself, and about the nature of forgiveness. He also learns that greed, revenge, and passion are the motives for crimes. And of course, stupidity can be a factor too.

This book is for any mystery fan, in just about any age range. I highly recommend this to anyone who lived though the late `60's and early `70's, and especially those who have suspicious blanks in their memories during that time. Military veterans might like this book since I suspect the more things change the more they stay the same. All in all, Ken Kuhlken has written a solid mystery. Both a murder mystery and a mystery about Clifford and what makes people tick. My favorite bit of writing is on page 228, about blame and forgiveness. However, I'll let you read it for yourself since it would be a spoiler for the book if I quoted it.

As a compulsive reader, I love good compulsive writers, and I was happy to learn that this was the fourth book about the Hickey family by Ken Kuhlken. And of course, I wonder if he intends to write a fifth about the family. Provided he can find a way out of the corner he backed his characters into. "I couldn't imagine a future..." pp.228.

Received book free of charge.
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