A FEMME FATALE WITH A POINT TO PROVE
It’s the summer of 1985 in London’s Soho, and Joe Stone is settling in in his new home at the heart of London’s developing gay scene.
When Danny Devraux—the compère they’ve hired to host their charity ball, The Frock Show—is found dead backstage, it falls to Joe and his friend Russell to figure out what happened.
All they have to go on is the broken-off heel of a stiletto found near the scene, and the briefest glimpse of a mystery woman fleeing the scene. But who was she?
Past secrets, bent coppers, drag queens and old lovers play their part in this noirish murder mystery.
Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Who’s That Girl, the second instalment in the Soho Noir series! First of all, thanks to Red Dog Press for the kind invitation to take part and for sending me an e-copy. Truth be told, this was all rather short notice, and I had told myself very authoritatively not to accept any invites with a short deadline, but I just had to make an exception for this one! After all, I did take to Tainted Love, the first instalment in the series, like a duck to water, so I did not want to miss the Who’s That Girl blog tour for the world!
Tainted Love came out last February, so the story and the characters were still fresh in my mind when I started reading Who’s That Girl, and that made this second Soho Noir novella feel like coming home. That is what I love about series with characters I care about, whether it’s a book or a TV-show, that feeling of catching up with old friends. That’s also why I would urge you to read the series in the right order. Although there are no spoilers as such, Who’s That Girl doesn’t waste many words on repeating what we’ve learned in Tainted Love. Most of the character building has been done in the first novella, all the foundations were laid, and this one builds further on that. As such I do feel that you’d miss quite a lot if you haven’t read the first one, and that you wouldn’t able to connect to the main characters as much.
Who’s That Girl picks up where Tainted Love left off and so we meet Joe and Russell again, the good eggs, but (un)fortunately Detective Skinner, the rotten egg, is back too. Unfortunately, because I hate the guy’s guts, sorry not sorry! He’s a nasty, bigoted, homophobe, pea-brained detective, who simply does not learn from his mistakes and I’d happily shove him into a Soho cellar and throw away the key! The thing about Skinner is that there are in fact people like him, even in this day and age; they haven’t gone extinct in the 80s, those Neanderthals are still alive and kicking, and that is something I can’t handle! *and breathe* However, I do enjoy a character whose guts I can hate, especially when he’s shown up by the good guys *evil grin* so in that way, it’s fortunate he’s back.
The story begins, Joe and Russell are quite content, Joe is in love, things are going great. So naturally, it takes but a few pages to have a man murdered in cold blood, speared with a… wait for it… sparkling blue stiletto heel, I kid you not! If I had a list of outstanding and outrageous murder weapons, this would go on it in a heartbeat! Since the detective paid to solve this murder is none other than our friend (NOT!) Skinner, the burden to find the actual killer and to solve the mystery falls once again on Joe and Russell. And wait, didn’t see Joe see a girl right before the murder, and then right after, running from the scene? Who’s that girl, and what has she got to hide? Before long, the boys are up to their necks in mystery and family drama, and the key to it all? A girl no one seems to know, yet seems to be everywhere. But who’s that girl? Read the book and find out!
Once again Mr Hunter does not mess around with excess words. Still, what he delivers is once again a full story. Would I have liked it to be longer? Yes, quite, I wouldn’t have minded if this was twice its size! Did I feel like I was missing something, that the story was rushed? No, not at all! Some writers need a shitload of words to get their ideas across, our talented Mr Hunter on the contrary, is able to say a lot with very few. I’m already looking forward to the next instalment and to the next conundrum my two favourite sleuths will get thrown at them!
If you’ve read and liked Tainted Love, you need to get your hands on Who’s That Girl. And if you haven’t but you’re at all into cosy mysteries, and/or if novellas are your bag, do yourself a favour and check out this series! Recommended!