It’s 1988. A mild summer after a turbulent political year for LGBT rights. While working as an assistant to a successful Theatre Director, Joe Stone finds himself unwittingly embroiled in another murder investigation.
Lexi Goode, a young, up and coming actress has her bright future cut short when she is found murdered in her exclusive top floor apartment in the posh end of Soho. Knowing that the police are as racist as they are homophobic, Joe and Russell inevitably take it on themselves to investigate what happened to the young woman.
Along the way they discover illicit liaisons, a string of admirers, a secret life that was helping to pay for the glamorous lifestyle no young actress should have been able to afford. But who would want to kill Lexi?
Finding the answer to that question puts Joe in mortal danger and a young police officer in an awkward position.
I must make a confession, I feel the need to unburden my soul, to be totally honest with you from the start of this review! I flipping love this series of novellas. In fact I don’t think love is a strong enough word!
I’m passionate about them.
In fact, I am infatuated with them.
I feel an impassioned need to shout about them from the roof tops!
I’m crazy about the whole series, mad about the stories, the characters, the setting, the writing, everything about them and Killer Queen, which is part five in the Soho Noir series just fills my reading obsessed heart with joy.
Why? Oh that is a hard one to put into words, it’s a feeling, it’s the simple pleasure of overwhelming excitement, when the publisher announces a new book in one of your favourite series.
Killer Queen doesn’t disappoint, it’s exciting, perfectly written and packed for me with emotional moments.
The emotion comes from my love of the main characters Joe and Russell. Despite the fact that the story is set in 1988, turbulent times for the LGBT community, when Margaret Thatcher introduced Section 28 of the Local Government Act, they are portrayed as proud, determined and positive. Russell remains very much in love with his boyfriend and the younger Joe as free to explore his sexuality. I love that in Killer Queen relationships are not portrayed as smooth sailing for Joe, it gives the story an element of angst, yet T S Hunter teases at a potential love interest for him and it made me a very happy reader. I got quite emotional at how he is growing as a man, feeling his way in a world that seems to reject him, but never allowing it to damage his image of himself. Prefect characterisation that takes both characters forward and tells us more and more about them as the series progresses.
The story is like all the others perfect. I delighted in how T S Hunter took us back to this period of change and yet managed to keep the story contained within this short novel. He takes us into the world of theatre this time and the murder of a young actress, tackling racism and as well as homophobia, but tying it all up in a story that is strong, tense and exciting. I’m a big theatre fan and the thrill of the off-stage theatrics kept me devotedly absorbed reading it in one thrill filled evening. My favourite part being how the writer teases us with the possible killer of Lexi and I admit I was a bag of nerves as Joe puts his life in mortal danger trying to bringing them to justice. It’s entertaining and edge of your seat stuff. In fact if you had been looking at me while reading, my eyes felt like they were popping out of their sockets.
Yet at the same time T S Hunter kept the sense of warmth and familiarity that saw me falling in love with the Soho Noir series from book one. It’s like taking an adventure with an old friend, you know it is going to be exciting, yet you also feel safe among with them. Yes I know they are fictional, but they are utterly and totally some of my favourite characters of all time and I loved having the chance to spend more time with them.
About the author
Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.
He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.
He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.
He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.