#BookReview of Tainted Love by T.S Hunter @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets #SohoNoir #TaintedLove #20booksforSummer #book5

Posted August 6, 2019 by Zoé in 20 Books of Summer 2019, Book Reviews, Reviews and Stuff / 10 Comments

Tainted Love by T.S. Hunter
Also by this author: Who's That Girl?, Careless Whisper
Series: Soho Noir #1
Published by Red Dog Press on April 18, 2019
Pages: 116
Buy on Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads

SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE JUST MURDER

It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town Joe and Chris grew up in.

But when Chris is brutally murdered, the police just write his death off as another rent boy, fallen foul of a bad hook up. Joe realises that his best friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.

Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?

A noirish whodunit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.

TAINTED LOVE IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SOHO NOIR SERIES OF COZY CRIME NOVELLAS.

My Review

This novella is such a delight! In such a few short pages (116 pages Goodreads tell me) so much happens and it does not deter from the enjoyment, it enhances it. Plus who could refuse such a provocative cover! 😉

Set in the 1980s where being gay is frowned upon and an unjustified reason to hit someone, we meet Joe and Chris, friends since school, on a night out at a party in a bar. From the opening scenes with Joe witnessing an argument between Chris and some burly man in a hat, you can sense things aren’t going to go well. When he then witnesses another argument between Chris and his friend “Patty” it makes you sick in your stomach to what might happen next. When the evening ends with a brutal murder and leaves you with more questions then answers you wonder what we have stumbled on.

Between Joe and Chris’ roommate Russell, an ex-copper they solve the clues to track down the killer as the police just aren’t interested. I absolutely did not have a clue to who the killer was, even when Russell had an Einstein moment I still didn’t see it.

The plot moves on at such a quick pace there is no room for preamble. It is solved within a couple of days and in that short space of time we are lead down so many different garden paths with so many different suspects! It made my head spin in delight, the book felt so real and gritty. Nothing dragged and I was eager to see where I was going, albeit shocked at times. I thought the pacing was perfect because it allowed us time to view the scene, soak up the different points of views and scenery and be completely immersed in the story and the characters.

Hunter has done something amazing here, in a few pages the characters are developed and I, for one, bloody cared a lot at what might happen to them. We feel so many emotions with Joe and Russell, we watch them as they are trying to deal with the grief of losing their friend and at the same time so many secrets are revealed whilst on the hunt for the person who would commit some a heinous act!

I loved losing myself in Tainted Love for a short while, but not only this, Hunter painted such a vivid depiction of the time, the night clubs, the music, the clothes and most important the treatment (lack of) for the gay community. I felt like I was there, living and breathing the situation, the bar even the murder!

Whilst reading this I did have the song Tainted love bouncing around my noggin. It’s a song that holds a special place in the heart as somehow it was my mum and dads song -don’t ask, but it’s also one of my go-to songs when I am getting ready to go out! However, using it as a title for this novella is absolutely spot on! Joe has a Chris on such a pedestal at times, he can’t see the real him, and when he learns the truth, his love for Chris does become tainted, and again for most of the men in Chris’ life, I thought it was played out so well, shame some of the men didn’t listen to the lyrics a bit more closely and maybe one listened to it too much!

Just in case you wanted the song stuck in your head!!

I am looking forward to seeing what is next for Joe and Russell in Who’s That Girl, another bloody tune (Running around with you in my head)! Hopefully, they will be solving crimes for a while longer, Russell being the ex-cop with the skills and the know-all and Joe, innocent a bit flappy with his temper but with a heart of gold. Plus be nice to see Patty aka Paul and Luc again! I am annoyed that I have left it so long to read the first book in this series, but I am a huge fan now of Hunter and his Soho Noir series. It is quirky, it is relevant and it is so heartfelt. I am way way excited about the next book!

Ok ok, enough gushing now….well until next time……..

🎙Who’s that 👩
🏃‍♀️ around with you?
Tell me
Who’s that
👩
🏃‍♀️ around with you? 🎶🎶🎶

Until next time xxx

Thank you to Dylan at Red Dog Press for gifting me a copy of this book in order to catch up for the Soho Noir tour!

About T.S. Hunter

Claiming to be at least 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

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