Day of the Dead and the thriller novel

Ninja turtle costumes and now PJ Mask outfits for pre-schoolers mark the deep dive into autumn and Halloween, but don’t forget Dia de Los Muertos — Day of the Dead — celebrations, a perfect time for a thriller novel, Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

Co-author Lon Casler Bixby’s photographic rendition of our Tom Stone: Day of the Dead cover

About Day of the Dead Celebrations

Like Halloween with families headed into the streets and shopping malls to collect candy, Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd is an extremely social holiday as described in this article from the National Geographic, Top 10 Things to Know About Day of the Dead.

indigenous cultures that preceded the Spanish didn’t want to just mourn the dead. They saw it as a natural phase in life’s journey. Today’s celebrations in Mexico and cities like Los Angeles mix the ancient rituals and beliefs with Catholic traditions.

An excellent website for finding out more about the cultural traditions is available through award-winning author Mary Andrade, Day of the She reveals how celebrations have subtle differences from one part of Mexico to another.

The Maya celebrate Day of the Dead with Hanal Pixán which “means ‘soul’ who gives life to the body. We will relive a millenary tradition with new eyes: ‘We will see that, as you see, I was, as I see, I see!’

Everything starts on October 31st. This day is dedicated to the little ones, the children. An altar must be prepared with a white tablecloth, fruit, traditional candies, desserts, and toys.

The next day is for the adults with tequila and beer while water and salt is used to purify the altar.

Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, available on AmazonCover










Drugs, violence, women all play a part and with Halloween fast approaching things are starting to get messy. Book review by Jill Burkinshaw

This is a fast paced page turner with suspense that starts at the beginning and keeps building right to the end. Action all the way through it is a great read.

We don’t adhere to specific Day of the Dead traditions but one of the passages in the novel that was so much fun to write was this — as the story was reaching its climax on the Santa Monica pier:

Along the pier’s right railing, a street musician crooned into a microphone while passersby tossed coins and dollar bills in to a guitar case. A Mexican flag flapped in the breeze above a vendor’s cart. An older woman draped in wrinkled skin sold sugar candy skulls surrounded by decorative skeletons wearing sombreros. Boys and girls adorned in traditional Mexican clothing prepared to perform their Ballet Folklorico. Day of the Dead was in full bloom. The Santa Monica pier was totally packed, worse than West Hollywood.

Stone moved slowly along the shops while Lightfoot covered the middle and Jake took the railing side with the beach spreading below. Suddenly, a rustle came from a T-shirt vendor at his cart. “Hey!”

Angelino knocked over a postcard rack and darted across the pier like a rat fleeing from a trap.

“Over there.” shouted Jake.

Confusion struck the crowd with gasps and people clutching children. Stone saw Angelino run toward the rides and push through lines. The hot, sugary smell of churros wafted across the deck and filled Stone’s lungs as he ran. Angelino headed toward the rides, passing the rotating Ferris wheel. He looked back quickly and then leaped over a short security fence surrounding the roller coaster.

For us, writing Day of the Dead is also about a new beginning. It’s our first complete storyline in the Tom Stone Detective novels and a new short story, A Deadly Path.

But also, the “bad guy” in the story line that begins in Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas, has some things to teach Detective Tom Stone as we see in the final chapter of Day of the Dead.

Read more on our Crime Books page of this blog.

Here’s a Day of the Dead video that you’ll enjoy. It’s from California Through My Lens and highlights celebrations on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.


And if you’re a book reviewer with a review blog, we’ll be glad to send you a complimentary digital copy. Email Don at


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