Posted by authorcamilson
Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven
by Robin Ray
No one ever “re-dies” in Heaven; unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to singer Amy Winehouse. Her death, an unprecedented event in Heaven’s history, has thrown a once docile world into unfortunate chaos. Because of the new uneasy alliance between angels and citizens, a freshly-arrived detective in the rock & roll town has been tasked with investigating the prime suspects, the members of the 27 Club – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. To make matters worse, a powerful angel from one of the upper levels of Heaven will soon arrive to make her ten-year inspection, a task that fills the other angels with dread since she has the power to banish anyone of them to the underworld. So, with time running out, the PI and his newly acquired sidekick, both aided by rock legends such as Eddie Cochran, Mama Cass, Kurt Cobain, Karen Carpenter and others, must quickly uncover the mystery that threatens not only to close Heaven’s doors forever, but promises to send a ripple effect through the entire universe that can rip it apart.
Plants of varying shapes and sizes sprouted everywhere, some just knee high, some as tall as mango trees. Rows of narrow pipes across the ceiling misted the foliage every minute. A few customers were sampling some of the edible flowers while others were reading manuals or informational tags about the unusual plants. Towards the back, the good PI spotted an employee who was busy pulling off the dead leaves from several botanical specimens. The clerk, he noticed, was very colorful with her psychedelic bamboo slippers, purplish pants, flowery blue and white tunic, rows of bangles on each wrist, several beaded chains around her neck, and a pink strip of cloth enmeshed in her long brown hair. As Gregory neared her, he could hear her humming along to the music playing over the virtual speakers high up in the corners of the center.
“Excuse me,” he introduced himself, “I was told Janis Joplin works back here.”
The employee turned and glanced at him. “You found her, babe.”
“Hi, Janis,” the PI introduced himself. “I’m Gregory Angelicus. And…”
“Oh, Lord,” she moaned, flinging the twigs in her hand down. “Another angel. What’d I do now?”
“Oh, no,” he stated quickly, “I’m not an angel. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”
“About what?” she asked, eyeing the intruder with suspicion through her circular yellow sunglasses.
Gregory looked around momentarily. “Is there some place we can talk?”
“Sure,” she answered, crossing her arms. “You’re standing in it.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links
Robin Ray emigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago at the ripe old age of 12. Already steeped in the rich culture and mysteries of his native land, it would only be a matter of time before he, too, became a musician and storyteller. After a short stint at Iowa State University, he became a nurse for practical purposes but never abandoned his musical and literary aspirations. Eventually, he did play guitar in several bands, committing himself to localized tours and album releases. Leaving the music world behind, he delved headfirst back into his second love – writing. To date, he has authored six screenplays, two novels, seven novellas, around fifty short stories and many poems. Thus far, he’s published six books – five fiction and one non-fiction, all available in paperback and e-book formats. His latest novel, Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven, can be purchased from the following Amazon link.
The book is on sale for only $0.99.
Robin Ray will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a $30 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway
The genesis for “Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven” took place when I’d initially wanted to write a book of interviews of the dead; specifically, me having casual conversations with artistic, musical and scientific legends like Mozart, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Tesla, Einstein, Tchaikovsky, Turing, Benjamin Franklin, Mahavir, Hendrix, and many others. During my research, I discovered another Seattle author had already published a book of interviews of some of these people, so I nixed my idea. Around that time, I took a gander at Amazon’s Kindle Scout program which accepted only full length novels to be considered for publishing. I thought I’d give that a try since I’d already written a novel (“Commoner the Vagabond”) and authoring a new one should be a little easier. I wasn’t sure what kind of book I was going to commit myself to writing, though. When I noticed there was a mystery bookstore in Seattle, I thought it’d be nice to add one more title to their shelves, hedging my bet they’d carry it especially if the setting for it was Seattle. That was when I came up with the idea of combining my two stories, essentially creating meetings with past legends in the midst of a murder mystery.
“Murder” was a fairly traditional story with non-traditional elements. First, it’s a murder mystery, that means there was a killer or killers on the loose and a detective and his sidekick would be on their trail. The non-traditional elements included the victim and suspects (dead rock stars) as well as the setting (Heaven). Because the story was both supernatural and scientific in nature, it incorporated elements such as the soul, karma and angels, as well as extra-high radio frequency transmissions and interdimensional travel.
Before I wrote the actual story, a lot of research had to be done. First, the setting. What was Heaven going to look like? Would there be roads or just fields of clouds? When I came up with the idea that, because Heaven was so vast it could be intimidating, it’d be simpler if it was broken up into bite-sized chunks, that is, a Heaven for rockers, a Heaven for lawyers, a Heaven for chefs, etc. Also, according to tradition, since Heaven had seven layers, I thought it’d be interesting if the first level would be designed in a way that was familiar to the newly deceased to help in their reorientation to the new world. I began designing a world that appeared normal and would have roads, trees, houses, parks, rivers, etc. During this design, I thought about Woodstock, NY. For all intents and purposes, Woodstock is an artistic community, a village popular with musicians, artists, bohemians and painters. That’s when I decided that Rock & Roll Heaven should look like Woodstock because many musicians were already familiar with it.
Once I had the setting, I needed the population to fill it. Rock & roll, being fairly young, probably has about 4,000 deceased artists related to the genre. It wasn’t just about the musicians, either. There would be record cover designers, studio engineers, record producers, talent managers, and other folks aligned with the industry. Naturally, I had to consult several lists of the deceased. For the artists with speaking parts (Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Shannon Hoon, Layne Staley, Eddy Cochran, etc) I watched TV interviews they’d conducted as well as listened to their stage banter and read their biographies. For a while, I agonized about what the angels would look like. Since it was all about the new arrivals to heaven not being disoriented, I thought the angels should also look human, albeit very clean and almost stoic since they were the guardians of the afterlife.
To help give some reality to the supernatural elements presented in the book, I had a closer look at those areas in quantum physics which dealt with interdimensional travel, the properties of subatomic particulate matter, and extra high radio frequency waves as being three-dimensional, but immeasurable, elements. Diving head first into this scientific world was an eye opening experience, to say the least. I began to see how the LSD “mind expansion” experiments of the 60’s were related to the cosmos as a whole. The fact that old drugs like the South American ayahuasca allowed their users to “tune in” to frequencies and warped experiences outside of our five senses gave some credence to the fact that we really only use a portion of our brain.
Perhaps one of my favorite bits of research for “Murder” had to do with what people would be eating and wearing. Once I realized there would be no animal products in Heaven, that meant no gasoline engines, no plastics, no electronics, no leather belts, no shrimps on the barbie, and no Kobe beef. I thought it’d be cool to have a plant which had so many uses that it’d be the staple of Heaven, and I found that flax fit the bill. It could be used for linen and clothes, paints, food, soaps and detergents, writing paper, furniture stain, lamp oil, and several other items. I hope people enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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