Review: Careless Whisper by T.S. Hunter from Red Dog Press

More great Soho Noir. Boy Bands and suspicious deaths, what could possibly go wrong?

Available to buy direct from Red Dog Press

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A third outing for Joe and Russell, another chance to step into their world and spend some more time with these wonderful character’s. Last time round (Who’s That Girl) I talked a bit about cosy crime and how I interpreted that, Carless Whisper really cements it. I read this in a single sitting, sat in my favorite chair which is in my favorite corner of the house and surrounded by books, on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Cosy perfection. The only thing that was missing was the fire being on, it might have been rainy but it was a British summer Sunday – warm rain!

Anyway, I digress. We’re not here to talk about my living room! Careless Whisper sees Joe really settled into his life in London and finding himself more and more into the Soho scene. He also has a job in TV production, looking after a famous and conflicted singer, Adam. When said singers manager and friend turns up dead in his hotel room, our resident useless copper Skinner focuses as always on the easiest route and goes after Adam. Joe and Russell step in to uncover the truth and clear Adam’s name.

Carless Whisper takes aim at our invasive press and the nature of fame, what that can do to a person when it destroys any hope of a private life. Whilst also being excellent mystery tales, there is a social conscience running through them, always through the lens of the LGBT+ experience but often looking at issues that have a wider context too. The nature of fame and what society often thinks is acceptable as a tradeoff for this success is examined and questioned throughout the story.

As with any great series, each new installment also brings new insights into our cast of characters. Russell in particular fascinates me, coming out later in life makes for an interesting perspective on the scene. We also have the introduction of a potential love interest too, though I won’t say much more on that for risk of spoilers. Joe also is going through more change in his life as he settles in to life in London, he is really finding himself through these adventures, defining his identity and that growth makes for a compelling through plot. Even if it is changes that Russell doesn’t always approve of!

A good series is like a runway walk off, the rules of which were so eloquently stated by the legendary David Bowie in Zoolander, repeat and elaborate. As readers we want those elements that got us involved in the first place, the characters, the setting, the language, the humor, the style. But we don’t necessarily want each entry to be a carbon copy, hence elaborate. So far each installment of the Soho Noir series has managed that with aplomb, getting stronger and more assured with each entry and Careless Whisper is no exception.

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