A stand-alone paranormal mystery book.
Publication year: 2012
Page count: 413
Publisher: Destine Press
Antonia Carlyle graduated as a writer of screenplays from Collage of Arts but had no plan for her life. But after a near death experience, she’s chasing her dreams. So, she invested all her money into making a documentary about the Australian music industry. The first part would dig deep into one of Australia’s most celebrated band: the Tough Romantics. Even though the band broke up years ago, they are still famous and have a lot of fans. One of the reasons they are still remembered is that their guitarist/singer Genevieve James was murdered 25 years ago just before the band became successful. Even though a local taxi driver was accused of her murder, he killed himself before the trial and nobody was convicted.
Antonia manages to find the members: Arthur, who used to write lyrics, is now a politician, Tucker has a successful career as a singer, and the lead singer Pia is a movie actress. Arthur seems willing to talk to Antonia and he has a surprise, too. It was said that there was a witness who could have exonerated the taxi driver. Through Arthur, Antonia gets in touch with the old witness, Joe, who is a writer. Joe has been working on a book about Genevieve’s last week alive and he’s willing to give it to Antonia but only one chapter at the time, as Joe is still revising it. Joe says that the book will reveal the real killer.
Antonia and her sexy and talented director Monty have moved into the house where the Tough Romantics lived during Genevieve’s murder. Antonia is starting to hear things from the past and dream about Genevieve. Things go downhill when Antonia’s abusive ex-husband smells money and shows up.
The investigation into Genevieve’s murder is rather different that usual because it happened 25 years ago and there are no direct witnesses to question. Arthur was out during the murder and the rest of the band are reluctant to talk about it. Antonia’s only direct information source is Joe’s book. About every other chapter is from Joe’s book. It describes the seedy side of Melbourne, St. Kilda, where the young band members lived. Pete O’Toole, the taxi driver, lived next door from the band members and strikes up a friendship with Genevieve. O’Toole tries to keep himself apart from the world of prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers but he cares about the people and is reluctantly drawn into their world while trying to help them. O’Toole is a painter but he hasn’t had an inspiration for a long time. Now, he’s finally getting it back. O’Toole is also not from St. Kilda so he sees things as an outsider.
Antonia is a flawed character. When she was young, her mother die of an overdose. Her mother had also been hearing voices and Antonia is terrified that she will go crazy, like her mother. She divorced her ex several years ago but she still has the scars; while she’s very good at her job, she thinks that she’s otherwise worthless and is scared of letting anyone get emotionally close to her. When Monty starts to flirt with her, she doesn’t believe that he’s actually interested in her. She’s also determined to do the documentary her way and not let others to dictate to her, not matter how famous or rich they might be.
For most of her life, Antonia didn’t believe in the supernatural. However, after her near death experience, she has started to feel and experience strange things which she can’t deny.
Monty is a tall and very handsome black man. He was in the Collage of Arts at the same as Antonia and they had several courses together. Still, Monty is seven years younger than Antonia and she’s very reserved around him. Sometimes Monty baits Antonia verbally but most of the time he’s supportive.
Joe is dying of liver cancer and he’s determined to get his side of the story on paper first. His book is written in O’Toole’s point-of-view and in first person. Joe interviewed O’Toole about his experiences and wrote about some of them even before the band came into O’Toole’s life. In these chapters we get insight to the band. They were very young and just on the edge of success. However, the chapters focus more on the other people on O’Toole’s life. The atmosphere during these chapters is quite different, more somber and gritty, but it works very well.
The pacing of the book is very good. Even though the crime is decades old, there’s still a sense of urgency that kept me reading.
The author kindly gave me a review copy.