“Murder and Mayhem on the Main Street of America” will be published next month

Jim Hinckley’s latest book, “Murder and Mayhem on the Main Street of America,” will be published by Arizona-based Rio Nuevo Publishers, and Amazon already is taking preorders.

Murder and Mayhem on the Main Street of America: Tales from Bloody 66

Subtitled “Tales from Bloody 66,” Hinckley took a hard look at the darker history of the Mother Road. Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Families on vacation. Serial Killers. Truck drivers. Vagabonds. Celebrities. Gangsters. The weary and the wicked of all types and stripes traveled the Mother Road. And not all of them made it. Some ended up in jail, others ended up in the grave, and the whereabouts of many remain mysteries. From Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 expert and aficionado Jim Hinckley is your tour guide down the sunless side of the street. Here’s your ticket.

Aaron Downey at Rio Nuevo stated in an email he expects copies of the book to be available by late August. According to a publicity sheet from the publisher, “Murder and Mayhem” will be 256 pages, with 100 black-and-white photos. It retails for $15.95.

According to the Amazon listing, the street date for the book will be Aug. 28.

Many previous books about Route 66 looked at the history of the road through a rose-colored, nostalgic lens. That gauzy vision seems to have played out in recent years, and a few newer books — “Secret Route 66” and especially “Route 66: A Trail of Tears” — took a look at the historic road’s darker side.

Hinckley on his Facebook page teased out a few stories he’s uncovered during his research into the book, including tales I haven’t heard before.

I suspect this will be his best book since the well-researched and indispensable “Route 66 Encyclopedia.”

(Cover image of “Murder and Mayhem on the Main Street of America” courtesy of the publisher)

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