KEN KUHLKEN – The Do-Re-Mi. Nominated for Best Private Eye Hardcover Novel of the Year, 2007.

Poisoned Pen Press, hardcover, November 2006.

   Book Description:

The Do-Re-Mi

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 [PI Tom Hickey] 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.

   About the Author:

Ken Kuhlken is a compulsive storyteller who drifted from his home in the southwest to the University of Iowa to study in its Writers’ Workshop. After publishing a story in Esquire, he believed he was golden. But the world proved to be a rougher arena than he’d foreseen, and he drifted through eight colleges teaching writing. Meantime, he fathered three amazing children and did three years as a newspaper columnist.

   Review Excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Clifford [Hickey] 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.”

Booklist: “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.”

Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune: “…thoughtful and exciting…. Among its other virtues, it captures summer 1972 and its motley crew – outlaw bikers, war protestors, marijuana growers and users – to understated perfection.”

   Previous Tom Hickey novels:

The Loud Adios. St. Martin’s, hardcover, August 1991. Trade paperback: Poisoned Pen Press, November 2006.

The Venus Deal. St. Martin’s, hardcover, April 1993. Trade paperback: Poisoned Pen Press, May 2007.

The Angel Gang. St. Martin’s, hardcover, August 1994.