LOOSE LIPS COST LIVES.
It’s 1986, and Adam Cave, lead singer of sensational pop group 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 rife.
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.
Hi and welcome to my review of Careless Whisper! First and foremost: huge thanks to Reg Dog Press for sending me a beautiful review copy!
Careless Whisper is the third Soho Noir novella, after Tainted Love and Who’s That Girl and believe me when I tell you it’s the best one yet! Mart (whose review will be up on The Beardy Book Blogger tomorrow) and I have agreed that it’s a doozy and you should definitely buy it, just saying 😁
I had been having a week from hell, I had major fatigue, but the week ended on a high note when I found Careless Whisper waiting for me when I came home on the Friday. I was so happy I even did the unthinkable and dropped my current read like a rock in favour of this gorgeous yellow novella *gasp* You may do this all the time, but I NEVER do, when I commit, I commit until the end of the book so this is a bloody big deal! Needless to say, I had many expectations and they were all sky-high, but Careless Whisper managed to exceed them all!
Like I told you when I talked about Who’s That Girl, the very best thing about reading a series, is being reunited with the main characters in each new instalment. This series is meant to be finished at the end of the year and I really don’t know what I’ll do with myself! I love Joe and Russell like they’re actual friends and I was so happy to catch up with them once again. Although, at the start of Careless Whisper, my man Russell isn’t quite living his best life: he’s having himself tested for HIV and obviously he’s anxious about having to wait for the results. By making HIV part of the plot, through Russell and another character, T.S. Hunter subtly but effectively draws the attention to the devastating disease that wreaked havoc in the previous century. It doesn’t turn into a sob story, Toby doesn’t work that way, he doesn’t shy away from emotions but he doesn’t milk them for all they’re worth either. Still, Careless Whisper is a stark reminder of the fact that HIV was equal to a death sentence at the time. It’s not like it’s a simple stomach bug now either, obviously, but now we know what we’re dealing with and there are lots of different kinds of medicine and suppressing drugs and what not, and it’s become much more manageable, not the automatic death sentence that it used to be, and it’s a good thing to stop and think about all that for a little while, which is exactly what Careless Whisper made me do.
However, if to stop and think about HIV is not what you want to do in your spare time, I completely understand and it’s no problem at all! You can gloss over it, and focus on the crime element of Careless Whisper, which is of course the main part of the plot, and what an enticing part it is! We reunite with Joe who has just got his first big(ish?) break: he is working as a runner for a TV show, documenting Loose Lips, a hugely popular 80s boy band. Loose Lips’ lead singer is gay and has to hide it because the hordes of girls fawning over him won’t appreciate that little fact. He’s getting tired of that closet though, and he’s also getting tired of the band’s poppy songs and peppy choreographies. And then Loose Lips’ manager is found dead… Once again, it’s Joe and Russell to the rescue, because it sure won’t be our narrow-minded, bigoted detective Skinner who will solve this case! A lot of red herrings threw me off the scent and the finale caught me by surprise, although it was in fact my first hunch that turned out to be true but I had completely given up on that theory, because I thought I’d had it wrong. If you read the book, you’ll understand why. Come to think of it, that is exactly what I want you to do: read this book! If you liked the previous Soho Noir novellas, you’ll adore this one! While Tainted Love and Who’s That Girl were solid four-star reads for me, Careless Whisper blew me away. It’s engrossing from start to finish, and fun and suspenseful and positively satisfying in every way! I cannot wait for the next instalment to be reunited with my lovely friends once again AND to gloat at the comeuppance I see on the horizon!
Careless Whisper is available as paperback directly from Red Dog Press and so is a lot of merch (mugs and badges and bookmarks, oh my!)! Check it out! Or click here for the Kindle version. Don’t trust me and need a second opinion? I don’t blame ya (much), check out these lovely bloggers: