Two men with separate lives become close after the murder of their mutual friend. They solve crimes the police care nothing about – and it seems their first case is far from their last.

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When I was sent the Soho Noir set, I was immediately thrilled. Each book is a different colour of the rainbow, which match perfectly with their contents. The set included six books, all around 100 pages or so, and they are simply exquisite.

The Plots

The first book in the series set in 1985, Tainted Love, was a perfect start to this collection of stories. Joe Stone, a shy gay man, comes to Soho London to spend the weekend with his best friend Chris.

After a night out in colourful Soho, Joe comes back to his friend’s flat to find him murdered.

Chris’ flatmate Russell, along with Joe, are both distraught; they decide to solve the case together, as the police force tend not to care very much about deaths in the gay community.

The second book in the series, Who’s That Girl, followed Joe and Russell yet again as they solve another murder the police don’t want much to do with.

A showman for Joe and Russell’s regular pub’s charity drag queen show, Danny, has been killed. It is once again up to the daring duo to find out who did it.

Continuing on with the third instalment, Careless Whisper, Joe Stone finds himself working as a showrunner on a Documentary about a famous pop group; he is also told to look after the lead singer, Adam Cave.

When the band’s manager, Jack Eddy, is found dead, all eyes and fingers point to Adam – but did he do it?

The fourth book, Crazy For You, sees Joe asked a favour by Antonia Lagorio, the daughter of a gang boss, to help him find her missing girlfriend Charlotte.

The perfect pair of Russell and Joe work together for the fourth time to try and find Charlotte; but is Antonia’s plea the truth?

Killer Queen, the fifth book in the series, follows the murder of Lexi Goode, an understudy for a famous actress, found dead the same night she takes the lead after the regular actress cannot attend.

Her sad story is one of the best, as Joe and Russell’s passion and enthusiasm to find whoever did this shines through as bright as it did in the first book.

Finally, Smalltown Boy, the sixth and closing book in the set, sees Joe and Russell band together to solve one final murder.

At a posh Christmas Eve party, one waiter is found dead outside Nathan Bentley’s posh mansion – pushed from a window. But with more than one person having a connection to the poor waiter, who did it?

My Review

These stories are nothing short of exceptional. Hunter has done a fantastic job at maintaining the perfect vibe throughout all six books, which can sometimes be difficult to do.

The first book sets the perfect tone and was charming right off the bat. I was immediately drawn to Joe, shy and concealed at first, but by the final book he is out and proud; it was wonderful to see his character change so wonderfully.

Russell is a little older than Joe, and after being pushed out of the police force for being gay, he is still proud of who he is and Joe, who becomes a very dear friend, is beside him the whole way and it honestly made me grin from ear to ear.

The feeling I got while reading these books was unlike anything else – the beautifully-camp, Soho vibe stretched throughout every single novel and I was beaming most of the time with one of these books in my hand.

Each book has the same kind of outline, similar to when you watch a TV show, where there is a short introduction and then the real story begins. Every book, bar the last one, opened like this and it was an excellent way to set up these stories.

Smalltown Boy, the final instalment, was the only book that didn’t have an opening like the others. We are thrown straight into the story with that one – which I found worked really well. Hunter was right to start the story with Joe and Russell, rather than a lead up to a crime they’ll be solving.

I have to mention that it is so crystal clear that the author of these excellent stories has a passion and a drive for these characters and their struggles; Soho in the 80s was the perfect choice for Joe, Russell, and the other unique and wonderful people we meet to be.

The only hang-up I had, was the minor grammatical errors and small spelling mistakes. A missing letter on the end of a word, a quotation mark missed out, and some repeated phrases. But, this did little to hinder the fantastic experience I had with these books.

The fourth book in the series was a little different, involving a kidnapping instead of a murder, and Joe being asked to help, rather than stumbling upon a case he feels he must solve. Perhaps this is why I didn’t favour Crazy For You as much as the others – nevertheless it was still an interesting journey!

Killer Queen has to be the standout. Lexi Goode is a lovely and sweet girl, despite what she believes to be personal blunders. It was sad to follow her story as, within only around 100 pages, Hunter painted a stunning picture of her and what she could have done with her talent.

These books have it all; a wonderful gay community just wanting to be themselves, a villain of sorts who’s always got it out for them, and simple stories that really do pique your curiosity.

This series is utter perfection; a crime, a duo to solve it, and an easy to understand yet exciting ending, all within 100 pages – absolute genius.

I adored the Soho Noir series, and would recommend them to anyone and everyone.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

RELATED: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

A serial killer is on the loose in London. The killer leaves a very specific mark on the victims – the only problem? That killer has already be found. It seems a copycat is terrorising the streets.

Nadine Matheson, the author of this novel, was born and raised in Deptford. She is, in addition to being a writer, a criminal solicitor. The Jigsaw Man is her debut crime novel.

The Jigsaw Man begins, after an interesting prologue, with Detective Inspector (DI) Anjelica Henley arguing with her husband. She is on her way to work when she’s told to take a detour to a new case.

The case involves a cut up body and a mark; a mark Henley recognises from a killer she jailed two years ago. So who’s copied Peter Olivier’s work...


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