Where the Heck Wednesday: Matt Phillips

This week it’s the turn of crime writer Matt Phillips, whose latest book is set in a remote part of North America… which sounds wild, atmospheric, and perfect for a little noir!

Book title: The Bad Kind of Lucky

Setting: Baja California (Mexico)

Author: Matt Phillips



They call Baja California…The Last Great Road Trip. And I have to tell you: It is.

A couple years back I had the fortune of piling in the SUV with my soon-to-be wife and rolling through San Diego into Tijuana. We made a wild right hand turn and plummeted southward, stopping only for perrones in Rosarito Beach (if you don’t know what those are, look them up) and fish tacos in Ensenada. Mostly, we sucked in the sea air and swerved to miss oncoming big rigs full of mangos and grapes. At some point, we turned westward onto a dirt road. A few miles later and we were camped on a bluff overlooking the sea, a field of brussels sprouts sprawled behind us. Need a camping spot in Baja? Just find the nearest beach and set up shop.

My latest book, The Bad Kind of Lucky, follows a low-level gangster and his newfound cronie into Baja as they search for a woman, some money, and a stolen car. I chose Baja as the setting because—and I’m being honest here—if I had to run from somebody or something, Baja is where I’d run to.

After our first night camped on the sea, we four-wheeled south and eventually hit the two lane highway that runs down Baja. Still farther south we found pulpo (Octopus) smothered in salsa, fresh fruit, tacos al pastor, and enough tequila and cerveza to tranquilize a horse. Between searches of our car by Federales and odd looks in the many tiny towns, we ended up on another beach—this one on the Gulf of California. Above us, spelled out with stones on a hill, were the words ‘La Gringa.’ We camped right on the gulf and it might have been the quietest sleep I ever had. From there, we hit the old mining town of Santa Rosalia, the tiny streets of Mulegé, and the clear waters of Coyote Beach. We somehow managed La Paz—where we saw two hoteliers duke it out in the dusty streets—and eventually Los Cabos. We four-wheeled northeast along the crashing surf and scuba spots, hunted tacos and tequila, roamed small, nameless towns, and generally prayed for our tires to hold up (they did).

I’ll spare you details of the journey north. It was much the same…Adventure, adventure, ADVENTURE.

A journey for us to know and you to find out.

The highway through Baja is often desolate, treacherous…But it’s also a road that leads to and through wonder.

It is—I promise—The Last Great Road Trip.

I’ll tell you that the characters in The Bad Kind of Lucky don’t get very far, but they get far enough to give you a taste of Baja. Trust me, you’ll like it. And if you don’t, we’ll do what they do in Tijuana—we’ll put an arm under your neck, tilt your chin, and pour the nectar of the gods (tequila) straight down your throat.

Here…Go on…Have a read. And a journey.


What a fascinating place! If that’s whetted your appetites, you can find out more about Matt’s book here.



2 thoughts on “Where the Heck Wednesday: Matt Phillips

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I live about 60 k/30 miles north of San Diego, so I know a little about Baja California. It is a great setting for a noir story! Nice to learn about how different authors choose their settings.

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