Title: Smalltown Boy
Series: Soho Noir: Book Six
Author: T.S. Hunter
Length: 111 Pages
Category: Murder Mystery
At a Glance: Smalltown Boy kicks off with the familiar warmth that has become such an elemental factor in the series. All the coziness and charm of its characters, the family they’ve built along the way, and the mystery are on full and entertaining display.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A CHRISTMAS PARTY WITH MURDER ON THE MENU
It’s Christmas Eve, 1988 and Russell and Joe are among the guests at a lavish party in a celebrity mansion in the heart of Soho.
Television presenter and national treasure, Nathan Bentley has a formidable reputation for legendary parties—with wall-to-wall celebrities, drink flowing, drugs, dancing, ill-tempered Cordon-Bleu chefs laying on the food and world famous musicians providing the entertainment. What could be better for a bunch of waifs and strays on Christmas Eve?
But when a body is found in the courtyard garden before the dessert has been served, questions begin to fly. Did he fall or was he pushed? And who of the many guests and hangers-on had either the means or motive for murder?
Hidden pasts and present jealousies all threaten to destroy a life carefully built in this festive crime caper set in the heart of London’s Soho.
Review: Following on the heels of the drama, theatrics, and murders abound in Killer Queen (and why wouldn’t that song demand an equally sensational murder plot, really), T.S. Hunter brings the boys back to more familiar territory in Smalltown Boy, book six of the Soho Noir Mysteries. Where I felt Killer Queen was a rare hiccup in the flow of the series, doing a good bit of telling and rehashing things from previous books, as well as the killer being somewhat more obvious than usual while still, in the end, delivering a morbidly sinister murder, Smalltown Boy kicks off with the familiar warmth that has become such an elemental factor in the series.
In this installment, Russell, Freddie, Joe, Mike, and Patty Cakes are gearing up for the holidays. The first step to set the festivities in full swing is a Christmas Eve dinner party at the home of Freddie’s client, Nathan Bentley, a celebrity and bit of a sensation in his own right. A man who, as it turns out, is himself no stranger to controversy and tabloid-style scandal. When one of the attending waiters hired to serve his guests turns up dead, Patty Cakes and the guys are right in the mix of it all and set about securing the murder scene while gathering the suspects for questioning. And, as it happens, there are several would-be suspects to choose from, not the least of which is Nathan’s own retinue of jealous exes. And then there’s the new love of Nathan’s life, Archie…the much younger Archie…the former waiter Archie…to whom Nathan has just made a financial gesture of the grand sort. But why murder a waiter? There’s the rub and it’s where the fun begins. And, there are secrets to expose. Lots and lots of secrets.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Soho book if Russell’s nemesis wasn’t hip-deep in trying to frame and pin the murder on any and everyone. He’s still a horrible human being and a lazy detective, and he doesn’t care that he’s horrible and lazy so long as he can make homophobic jabs at every opportunity. His modus operandi may not serve him for much longer, however, thanks to Mike—a police officer and Joe’s new boyfriend—who takes a rather heroic turn himself in this installment.
For those of us who’ve been following this series from book one, all the coziness and charm of its characters, the family they’ve built along the way, and the mystery are on full and entertaining display. As the crew gets ready to welcome in 1989, I look forward to what lies ahead and to which song title Hunter settles on to tell the highlight the next case.
You can buy Smalltown Boy here:
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