Sunday, 11 August 2019
T.S. HUNTER - CARELESS WHISPER (2019)
LOOSE LIPS COST LIVES.
It’s 1986, and Adam Cave, lead singer of the pop sensation Loose Lips, is struggling to stay in the closet, especially as his group is going through a messy split, and media speculation about the reasons behind it are high.
Joe Stone is assigned to Adam as a runner for the behind-the-scenes, warts and all expose of the recording of the bands last album, and an unlikely friendship begins to form.
But when Adam’s manager, Jack Eddy, is found dead in Adam’s hotel room, in what looks like a sex game gone wrong, Joe turns to his flatmate, Russell, to help him clear the pop star’s name, and keep his secret.
Russell, meanwhile, has a secret of his own. He’s just been for a test, the results of which may change his life forever.
Another enjoyable visit to Soho mid-80s in the company of Joe Stone and flatmate Russell, with the pair of them teaming up to solve the murder of a gay band manager, rather than allowing lazy policing to conspire in an innocent man's conviction.
What I enjoy about these books is the sense of time and place Hunter portrays when describing life as a gay man in a minority community in somewhat less enlightened times..... Soho, London, music, fashion, community, attitudes, a killer disease on the rampage and the fear and worries that accompany it.
A boy band, an unhappy lead singer, unrequited love, public image, an investigative journalist with a scoop in mind, an ambitious film-maker, friction in camp, an impending implosion and a murder.
This is probably not the most complex mystery ever written, but I liked it. Russell is a former Met Detective forced to resign after a sex sting operation conceived to out and expose his sexuality. He still possesses the skills from his former job and the ambition to get even or even one up on Skinner, the architect of his removal and the current lead on the case. Do what Skinner fails to - ask the right questions of the right people and apply a bit of pressure when required. See through the half truths and mis-truths and murder solved. Albeit with the help of a pal, Joe.
Entertaining, instructive, enlightening but never preachy. An interesting enough mystery, decent pace, characters full of heart, conviction and loyalty, a trip back down memory lane with the music and fashion of a period when I was in my early 20s myself and only 120-odd pages long. Perfect for a one-sitting read.
4 from 5
The first in T.S. Hunter's London Noir series, Tainted Love has been enjoyed before. The second, Who's That Girl sits on the pile.
Read - August, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 126
Source - review copy from publisher - Red Dog Press
Format - paperback