Bakersfield brings the dark side of the 1950s dust-choked town to life in this Raymond Chandleresque tale of crime and corruption. A winner from a talented writer who knows how to keep the surprises coming.
— Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Victim
Mid-1950s, and the post-war American dream has come into full focus in Southern California. Suburbia, freeways, fast food, television and nuclear paranoia. James Stone, a career cop in LA, is along for the ride – until he becomes enmeshed in an LAPD scandal that costs him his job, his wife and his home.
He finds himself exiled to Bakersfield, California, the only place he can still find work as a cop. It’s a mean little town. Hot, flat and dry. Dominated by agribusiness and oil and little else. But it’s also brewing the flip side of the American dream, with wild honky-tonks playing the first electric music, motorcycle gangs, the Ku Klux Klan, and test pilots from nearby Edwards air base slumming on weekends.
Stone works homicide and his first case is a murdered young girl found floating face down in the Kern River. It puts him in touch with Christine Harmon, who contracts as the county’s forensic pathologist and runs a small clinic on the side. At the time, woman doctors are almost non-existent, and Stone finds Harmon’s spirited independence fascinating.
His investigation takes him deep into the local bar scene, where young players like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are just getting their start. But then a second homicide pops up, a very sticky one for this ultra-conservative, bible-thumping community. A wealthy businessman is found murdered in his home, apparently the victim of a vicious young drifter living at a seedy motel bar on the edge of town.
With the aid of Dr. Harmon, Stone follows a trail of depravity and corruption that reaches into the highest levels of the local business and legal community. And once again he finds himself caught up in a scandal that threatens to ruin him – and this time maybe even kill him.
Pierre Ouellette’s first two books were the science fiction thrillers The Deus Machine and The Third Pandemic. Writing as Pierre Davis, he published A Breed Apart in 2009 and Origin Unknown in 2011. Under his own name, The Forever Man came out in 2014. Starting his working life as a professional guitarist, Pierre played in numerous Portland-area rock bands and jazz ensembles, including Paul Revere and the Raiders, Jim Pepper and David Friesen. He was a co-founder of KVO, a Portland-based ad/PR agency focused on science and technology, and served as creative director for two decades before the agency was sold in 2000. Pierre now works as a video/film producer and guitarist when not writing. He lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Suspenseful tale of an LA cop exiled to Bakersfield in the 1950s, where he discovers the dangerous, degenerate underbelly of the town.”
Todd GrimsonAuthor of Brand New Cherry Flavor and Stainless
You’re going to love Bakersfield, I sure did.
Kent AndersonAuthor of Night Dogs, a New York Times 1998 Notable Book of the Year
Local author draws on musical experience to write gritty story of crime and corruption
Lake Oswego resident Pierre Ouellette can claim several job titles during his long career. He has been a professional guitarist, owner and creative director at a public relations agency, video producer and published author.
Now, he draws upon all of those experiences when writing. And on Oct. 15, he will release his sixth novel, Bakersfield.