R.J. McDonnell writes the wonderful "Rock and Roll" series of murder mysteries, the second of which--Rock and Roll Ripoff--was not only produced by Booknook.biz, but was just announced by Premier Book Awards as the 2010 Best Book of the Year in the Mystery/Thriller category! Congrats, RJ!
RJ McDonnell is the son of a Pennsylvania State Police Detective. His father received several citations and decorations over the years for solving complex and high-profile crimes. One of his cases was featured in "True Detective" magazine. Another was the subject of "A Justice Story," the centerfold of the Sunday New York Post for many years. In addition to a traditional education, RJ also had the benefit of seeing every police detective drama on television and in the movies. His father would frequently critique these stories for believability of characters and police procedures.
But instead of becoming the third generation of McDonnell's to enter the police force, RJ found that his talents lie elsewhere. In high school, he was fortunate to have an exceptional English teacher, Donald Walton, who exposed him to an exciting cross-section of American literature and sparked his interest in the Mystery genre.
He earned a Bachelor's Degree at Penn State University and a Masters at Marywood University. During his college years RJ was a rhythm guitarist and vocalist in two bands. Shortly thereafter, he moved to San Diego where he went to work for a professional writing service. In addition, he wrote a monthly column for the Military Press, and another for a San Diego publication, providing advice to job seekers.
In the 90s, RJ discovered he had a knack for comedy writing. He wrote for a local San Diego cable television show that had a Saturday Night Live-type format. Over its two seasons on the air, 34 of his skits were produced.
While he continued to work as a professional nonfiction writer, his creative juices were now flowing. After college, RJ's interest in crime stories transitioned from television and movies into novels. He discovered that the lack of detail and intricacies that his father complained about were abundant in the novel format."Rock & Roll Homicide" was the first novel in a series featuring private investigator, Jason Duffy. A national news story about how the book was selling well to both traditional mystery readers and 18- to 35-year-old non-readers generated a lot of interest from parents who wanted to pass their passion for reading on to their adult children.
The second novel, "Rock & Roll Rip-Off," was released in the spring of 2010. RJ launched a library tour shortly thereafter, geared toward helping parents of non-readers who enjoy rock music.
RJ is currently writing the third novel in the Rock & Roll Mystery Series, which will be released in the spring of 2011.