“Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.
Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.
Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.
No one except Doc.
Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.”
It is my great pleasure to be one of two blogs closing down the Needle Song blog tour today. Needle Song is the first full novel from debut author Russell Day and is available to purchase now having been published by Fahrenheit Press in April 2018.
Needle Song is something quite special. What you see isn’t quite what you get but it’s done in such a glorious way that it really doesn’t matter. What struck me the most about this book is the quality of the characters. Now I’m a reader who loves a story that centres around its characters, so Needle Song was a real pleasure for me to read. I also like those characters to be different, a little odd maybe and with appealing quirks. Once again, Needle Song ticks all the boxes.
When Chris Rudjer is arrested for the murder of his new girlfriend’s husband, tattoo shop owner and psychology graduate Doc Slidesmith and his somewhat unenthusiastic sidekick, Yakky, leap to his aide. Armed with a love of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and a loaded deck of tarot cards, Doc and Yakky poke where the police fear to tread – all in the name of saving their mate from a life in prison. After all, Chris looks the most likely suspect in the murder. But Doc knows better. Doc knows that man mountain Chris would never hurt a fly (unless provoked!) and it’s down to him (and the slightly dubious Yakky) to prove it!
I loved Doc Slidemsith, but Yakky stole my heart. The story is told from his perspective so the reader gets to see and feel what he’s experiencing. The moments when Doc suddenly pronounced his latest theory and Yakky’s obvious underwhelmed reaction to the reveal was just wonderful. Very reminiscent in a lot of ways to one of my favourite movies ‘Without a Clue’. Just brilliant!
I was compelled to keep turning the pages and was engrossed in the investigation from start to finish. I admit that I was a little disappointed with the ‘whodunit’ but I was delighted that Doc was able to uncover the mystery in such a dramatic and flamboyant style. Miss Marple would have been proud of him!
Would I recommend this book? I would. I don’t want to say this book is delightful as that makes it sound twee (it’s not twee; voodoo, tattoos, bikers, blood spill, murder, suicide and shotguns under the floorboards…) but that’s the first word I think of when I think of Needle Song. It was a joy to read, a delight! It breaks down genre barriers with the wonderful Christie-esque mystery but the modern day, darker setting makes it so different to everything else. Needle Song blurs the lines and I really enjoyed it.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read and review a copy of Needle Song. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Needle Song by Russell Day was published in the UK by Fahrenheit Press on 28th April 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press online shop | Goodreads |
Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.
Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.
Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s always been a miserable bastard.