Tainted Love : T.S. Hunter

TL_Ebook_RGB_FINAL.jpgNow one of the first things anyone in the house said to be as I pulled this out the envelope, was why do you have a book with a, as the ten year old butts in and says mum why are your reading a book with a willy on the front…… to me its a very pretty cover and I love the vibrant red on the slick black cover. And the delicious red spine is just to die for. Don’t get me started on how much I was thrilled to hear Tainted Love is only the first in a series and not only could I read more from Hunter but I could make my own little rainbow flag on my bookcase as each spine is a different colour.  EEEEEKKKK Now I love Tainted Love and have already read the beautiful short story twice.

Now before I spill the beans on exactly what I thought, I should really let you have a look at what the book is about;

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.

When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as just another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his best friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon – Chris’s flatmate to found 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 whodunnit set in 1980’s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimation and lethal killers that the era had to offer. 

 

Now I loved this little firecracker of a read and even though its only 125 pages long… perfect size to lose yourself in over a coffee in the local coffee shop. (which may have been how I totally lost myself while I read it for the first time) Also I love reading out in public as its another way to get a book out there, especially if you are really into it.

Now I want to talk about the dedication at the start of the book did touch me in a way :

For all those who came before, who fought for us to have what we have now. 

It is a very true point and one which some people seem to forget. Last year I took part in the Pride march in Edinburgh… normally I skip the march and just hit the pub straight away but last year was different.  I had spoke to my uncle who in the 80’s didn’t know how to be himself and eventually moved to London and lived nearby to Soho. We always said we would go together one year and he would show me the places he liked to go. (something we never got the chance to do) But he was the one who said I should take part in the march as if it wasn’t for those before me then its an opportunity I wouldn’t have. We live in a society that sometimes still isn’t fully accepting, but we are still a long way away from what life was like in the 80’s. sorry im rambling away and not even got properly started on the book yet.  Love is Love and if people so wish they can shout it from the rooftops.

Joe is a character I loved and in some ways I could relate in so many ways.  I didn’t come out for a very long time and even then I didn’t actually come out and still hid who I was in relationships, always introduced as a friend and vice versa, that’s all changed now. Anyway enough about me yet again.

Chris is Joe’s childhood friend, and the only one who knows that Joe is gay, and for Joe Chris will always be the one he secretly loves.  When Chris is found murdered, we have a choice of suspects and I was like yip its them oh no wait maybe its them … hmm perhaps it was them and for that reason I loved following the journey with Joe and Russell trying to get to the bottom of  who murdered him. Joe really gets his eyes opened when he meets various people who knew Chris, but the Chris they know is very different to the one that Joe grew up with and its a bit hard for him to take at times. Joe is a small town guy and not used to the way of life that Chris was leading in London. Hunter gives us a real sense of what Soho was like in the 80’s , 1985 to be exact a year before I was even born and wow what a totally different world we lived in, for a start the police. When Skinner turns up to investigate the murder and he just totally writes it off, saying Chris was just a rent boy. Joe is shocked and its Russell to the rescue, he fills Joe In on what the police are actually like especially if you are gay. Russell has a history with Skinner and the past they share soon comes out. Joe and Russell make a great team and I loved the way they pulled together to get to the bottom of Chris’s murder and when Russell puts the final pieces of the jigsaw together I was right there with Joe flabbergasted still trying to work out all the clues in my head to see if I was going along with where Russell was heading.

The nightclub that Chris took Joe too for his very first night out in Soho sounded like the most magical place ever and I could picture everyone dancing away, having a blast …. the one place they could dress, be who they wanted and dance with who they wanted. Reminded me its been awhile since I hit the dancefloor with a drag queen just down the road, as I belt out 80’s tunes at the top of my lungs. Lets face it the music from the 80’s still gets us up on our feet, singing and dancing. please don’t say that’s just me.  This was just the most perfect read that I loved getting lost in and even though it was from the era I was born in, it still held a lot of memories and I think this is where the cosy crime thriller part comes in, its so loving despite the brutal murder and not filled with sex, drugs and rock and roll. We have down to earth and prominent LGBTQ characters, when was the last time you can say honestly you read a book like that, Gay characters and a drag queen taking centre stage throughout. Hunter is highly talented and manages to convey and get so  many points across, while having a whole whodunnit plot which is well rounded and well I loved it. I’m excited to see what the rest of the series entails, check out my post from yesterday to hear all about them and a post from the man of the hour himself.

The last few days some of the great bloggers have already raved about Tainted Love and you may want to go check them out, and check out the rest of the bloggers still to come if you don’t want to take my word for how great this book really is. Red Dog Press very kindly sent me a copy for this review along with the cutest little bookmark, sadly I didn’t get a chance to use the bookmark as I couldn’t and wouldn’t put Tainted Love down for even a second. Now I could be a bit TMI for some of you but I got so carried away that even a loo break was out of the question. By far the best LGBTQ book I have picked up and read in a long time ….. like I have mentioned I’ ve already read it twice. Now to quietly wait for the 5th June so I can get my hands on the next book in the series.

You can buy your own copy of Tainted Love right now either from Red Dog Press directly or from Amazon. mybook.to/Tainted_Love

You could always enter the competition Red Dog Press are running to win your very own signed copy, with a few added extras : Tote bag  GO AWAY IM READING and  a rainbow badge oh and not forgetting the chocolate ……. hang on a minute this is a prize I would love to win …. I shall leave the goodies for you guys so don’t forget to enter … I mean you got to be in it to win it right. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YjU5MzljNjFlYTUzNDc2MTg3MzU5ZGUxYTgwMDU2OjE=/?

Oh and if you want a chance to check out either T.S Hunter or Red Dog Press you can find them over on twitter @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets

All that’s left for me to say really is , please check out the other bloggers, pick up a copy of Tainted Love enjoy it over a coffee and cake and you got to be in it to win.

My thanks to Red Dog Press for having me on this blog tour and for giving me the opportunity to not only read a new author but to find a book I love and excited about what’s to come.

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