The Bottom Line: A tasty blend of music, nostalgia and murder that will bring a smile to your lips. A must-read mystery for music lovers.
Everyone once in a while, a novel emerges that is tailor-made for serious music fans who will appreciate every subtle reference and nuance: Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Rob Sheffield’s Talking to Girls about Duran Duran are some of the best. Add James Hanley’s Clues in the Lyrics to the list of must-read fiction for music lovers.
During a murder investigation in which song lyrics were hinted on the victim’s body, investigator Detective Brinkmann enlists the help of Barbara Palittere, a local radio DJ that specializes in classics from the 1960s and 1970s. Soon, Barbara discovers a clue – a connection to the Kent State University shooting decades earlier. As the book progresses, classic rock fans will take great pleasure in finding so many recognizable titles woven into the novel. It’s not often that writers mash up Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young with murder.
Veteran western writer Hanley passes his first test as a contemporary mystery writer with this tale of an unusual heroine in an otherwise straightforward police procedural. Don’t expect many surprises from Brinkmann – he’s more or less the straight man in this story – but Barbara is someone you’ll want to spend time with. And as in all good thrillers, the closer our heroine gets to the truth, the more danger she finds herself in. Enjoy.