Curt Colbert - All Along the Watchtower: A Matt Rossiter Mystery

The Vietnam war is long over. Or so Seattle PI Matt Rossiter thought. Thirty years later, it’s back with a vengeance, slapping him in the face at every turn. Somebody is killing the members of his old platoon and Matt is increasingly reminded of his own actions during the conflict as he investigates.

Beginning with the body of his hated wartime sergeant being found on Jimi Hendrix’s grave—with an “Are You Experienced?” button pinned to his chest—Matt is at a loss to explain it or why an old platoon list found on him has his name crossed off of it. To make matters worse, Matt hasn’t got a clue about what the connection to Hendrix is.

After a copy of the same platoon list is taped to his door, this one with his own name crossed off, Matt is certain someone is out to murder his old comrades. He enlists the aid of Rachel Stern, a PI he helped train, to track them down, feeling it’s his duty to warn them.

As he searches from Bellingham, Washington, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; from Astoria, Oregon, to Oakland, California, the murders continue, and Matt has more and more flashbacks about his own actions during the Vietnam war. He’s either too late with his warnings, or they are unheeded by his former platoon members, which ony serves to increase his untreated PTSD.

By the end of his harrowing search, Matt’s past and the present seem to merge into one as he follows a solid lead on the person that he thinks is responsible for the murders. But he is shaken to the core as he learns the reason behind the Hendrix songs when he identifies and confronts the killer.

Curt Colbert is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, EPIC Group Writers, and Sisters in Crime. He has written three novels in the hardboiled Jake Rossiter & Miss Jenkins series – Rat City, nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel of 2001; Sayonaraville; and Queer Street. These were originally published by UglyTown Press. (A Japanese translation of Rat City was published by Tokyo Sogensha.) These novels are all raw, non-PC books that reveal historical Seattle in the late 1940’s – they show prejudice like it was – to do otherwise would be revisionist history. The fourth book in the Rossiter series, Nowhere Town, is currently being written. Curt was a judge for the Edgar Awards in 2008, and is also the editor of Seattle Noir, published by Akashic Books, an anthology of dark short stories set in various neighborhoods of Seattle.

In addition, Curt has written five humorous mystery novels in the Barking Detective series under the pen-name Waverly Curtis, with his co-author, Waverly Fitzgerald. They are: Dial C for Chihuahua, Chihuahua Confidential, The Big Chihuahua, The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice, and The Silence of the Chihuahuas. Waverly Curtis also wrote the Christmas short story, A Chihuahua in Every Stocking. All were published by Kensington.