Delighted to be hosting a stop on the tour for “Video Killed The Radio Star” by Duncan MacMaster, which is available now. I’ve got an extract further down, but first, what’s the book all about?
About the book:
Money in the bank and his dream girl on his arm – life was looking pretty sweet for Kirby Baxter.
Of course it couldn’t last. Where would the fun be in that? This is a sequel after all.
After solving the murder of a movie starlet the previous year, Kirby is doing his best to live down his burgeoning reputation as part-time Interpol agent and amateur sleuth.
Then reality TV comes knocking next door.
Million Dollar Madhouse is a reality TV show where a bunch of washed up celebrities are thrown together in a dilapidated mansion while their attempts to renovate the building are broadcast 24/7 for the viewers delight.
Kirby’s quiet town is thrown into chaos by the arrival of camera crews, remote control video drones and a cast of characters including disgraced actress Victoria Gorham, political shock-jock Bert Wayne and reality TV royalty Kassandra Kassabian.
When one of the cast members turns up dead the local police turn to the only celebrity detective in town for help and draft an unwilling Kirby into their investigation.
The first body is only the beginning of another rip-roaring adventure for Kirby Baxter and with Gustav his loyal driver/valet/bodyguard/gardener//chef/ass-kicker at his side, our hero plunges into the fray with his usual stunning displays of deductive reasoning and sheer bloody luck.
“Someone’s left the gates of hell unlocked,” said Molly Garret from the depths of Kirby’s bathrobe. She had her phone in her hand, and an annoyed look on her face.
“You don’t have your ‘happy to be smelling bacon’ face on,” said Kirby Baxter from his position in front of the stove. Usually the smell of bacon gave her a smile that nothing short of nuclear war couldn’t erase.
“I get out of the shower,” said Molly, “and my phone rings. It’s my cousin, and she is coming here for a visit.”
“You’re the famous detective,” replied Molly with a smirk. “Figure it out.”
“I’m not a detective.”
“That’s not what they say on the internet,” said Molly, “and if it’s on the internet, it must be true. So amaze me with your deductive prowess.”
“So that’s why you’re my girlfriend, you just want me for my deductive prowess.”
“I thought you’d be happy that I want you for more than your hot body,” Molly smirked.
“Your family can only be figured out with the process of elimination,” said Kirby. “I need more information to trim the herd.”
“Did you just call my family a herd?”
“Both your parents have twelve siblings apiece. All of those aunts and uncles are married and have families of their own. Those families have a minimum of eight children and a maximum of thirteen children apiece. That means you have exactly two-hundred and forty-six first cousins.”
“Wow,” said Molly, “even I didn’t know how many.”
“That makes it officially a herd,” said Kirby, “that needs to be trimmed.”
“You met her at my cousin Beatrice’s wedding reception last year,” said Molly.
“That’s more of a clue,” replied Kirby. “Narrowing the field down to sixty-eight.”
“You said ‘her,’” said Kirby, “which eliminated the seventy male cousins who attended the same reception.”
“Anything else you can eliminate?”
“Your voice was slightly nasal, and you still don’t have that grin you get whenever there’s bacon cooking,” continued Kirby. He was in full Poirot-names-the-guilty mode now, pausing only to move the bacon around in the pan. “That means you’re talking about a female cousin that annoys you. That cuts it down to six, so it has to be your cousin Shelly Flugen.”
“How did you figure it out?”
“When you said ‘her’ your eyes ticked upward slightly for about a tenth of a second,” said Kirby. “That is a tell you have whenever you are talking about someone taller than you, which is most people.”
“You know that while I may be short, I’m fully capable of domestic violence,” said Molly.
“Five of those six female cousins who attended that reception that annoy you, are either your height, or even shorter. That leaves only Shelly Flugen.” Shelly Flugen had made an impression that one time they met six months earlier, being not only the tallest among Molly’s female cousins, but the most aggressive. Her aggression was to get an interview out of Kirby for a new angle on some events from a little over a year ago that he was really trying to leave behind. He certainly did not want to see them rehashed in supermarket checkout lines.
“That’s why you’re the great detective.”
“I told you, I’m not a detective,” said Kirby, taking the bacon out of the pan and into a plate lined with paper towel. “I was just involved in a series of unpleasant coincidences where I was able to help some people, and they’re ancient history now. I’m just a cartoonist, and that’s all I will ever be.” Kirby Baxter was relieved to be free from those coincidences. Three years earlier he was just another comic book artist, respected within the industry, but unknown to wider world. Then the worst day in his life became the weirdest day in his life. Fired from his job, and recently dumped by his then girlfriend, Baxter bought a lottery ticket in a rare fit of whimsy. That ticket turned out to be not only a winner, but a record breaking winner. Baxter went on an extended European tour to figure out what to do with his life, and there things got even weirder. Almost everywhere he went Kirby found himself in the middle of some sort of mystery that only he seemed capable of solving. He came back from Europe with a semi-official status with Interpol as their go-to guy for puzzling whodunits, and Gustav, who has been serving as Baxter’s assistant, driver, and bodyguard, ever since. It had been almost a year since the last coincidental event had made Kirby a minor, possibly infamous, celebrity. An actress had been murdered at a comic book convention in Toronto. The case was ridiculously complex, and often ridiculously dangerous. However, Baxter did successfully solve it, and several other crimes, and the happy ending had brought him and Molly together. Kirby had to endure several months of intense media scrutiny in the aftermath, but that too faded, thanks to a divisive and controversial presidential election.
Baxter enjoyed this quiet time. He had been getting a lot of work done, and Molly had been able to get away from her job as an editor at Atlantic Comics in New York and spend most weekends with him at his farmhouse that his late grandfather had christened Charlatan’s Cove.
“You’re also a pretty good cook,” said Molly. “I like my eggs over easy.”
“They’ll be so over easy you’ll think they’re your cousin Livia.” Both laughed at the memory of Molly’s second most aggressive cousin.
“I’m going to get dressed,” said Molly, turning around, letting Kirby’s robe drag a regal train of terrycloth behind her, “you better let Gustav know she’s coming, and toss on some extra for Shelly. Her visiting at breakfast time is not a coincidence.”
Kirby didn’t need to be told that.
He was the great detective after all.
About the author:
Duncan MacMaster is a writer, pop-culture blogger, and film school survivor from the untamed wilds of Eastern Canada.
When he’s not concocting plots for Kirby Baxter to unravel he’s posting rants and rages about the business behind pop-culture on his blog.
Connect with him on Twitter