Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more variables to the detective series, there comes the reluctant hero of Sarah Luddington’s latest offering.
Chords for the Dead is a novella which clearly needs more – or at least I need more. Charlie Carter is a fading rock god whose muse died from an overdose and Charlie still mourns his dead love. With a complex back story, as all of the author’s characters tend to have, Charlie is as mystified by the turn of events in the story as any of us would be and that’s the beauty of the author’s writing. The story is earthy, grounded, fast-paced and above all fun. There’s a great cast of characters, from the AA sponsor, to the slightly scary new lover, and a DI who would make any bad guy wary of her team.
It’s well written and well paced, the narrative voice is strong but also accessible. Whether you love a good romance, a good thriller, or a good ghost story, this should push your buttons. The gay slant is dominant, that’s true, but seems so natural that even if it’s not your usual bedtime reading you won’t be overwhelmed by it. The romance and, dare I say it, sex, is tasteful and compassionate, a difficult juggling act in these days of post 50 Shades. Charlie is a sweet man who would rather spend his days dreaming of complex musical compositions, but finds real life keeps getting in his way, which makes him instantly likeable. We can’t wait to see where this novella leads the author as the story expands which I’m sure it should.