Sunday 8 July 2018

BLOG TOUR: Needle Song - Russell Day

I am thrilled to be taking part in the damppebbles blog tour for Needle Song by Russell Day and I am sharing my review of this eagerly anticipated crime fiction debut (as it says on the amazing cover).

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.

What did I think?

I'm not usually drawn first to a book by its cover but Needle Song has one of those covers that you can't take you eyes off.  It strongly reminds me of Sons of Anarchy and apart from the lead guy having a motorbike, that's where the similarity ends.  Needle Song is something else entirely with Doc reminding me of Sherlock Holmes; a modern day whodunnit with clues just waiting to be found.

The story is told from the point of view of Yakky (real name Andy, which he hates) who is an apprentice tattooist working with the very unconventional Doc Slidesmith, kind of like Anakin and Obi Wan.  Doc isn't just a nickname, as he has a PhD in psychology so he knows how to read people which helps with his tarot card readings.  When Chris Rudjer, one of Doc's customers, is arrested for murdering his girlfriend's husband, Doc is determined to prove that Chris is innocent.  With Chris's girlfriend, Jan, turning to Doc and his tarot cards, this  gives Doc the perfect opportunity to winkle out everything that Jan knows about the events surrounding her husband's death.  I was so sure that she definitely knew more than she was letting on!

Although Doc is a great character with a lot of dry humour and Holmes-like deduction skills, I really liked Yakky.  Yakky is an ex-nurse and doesn't have the happiest life now that he's living with his dad, who absolutely cracked me up at times.  He is a master game-player and can play the sympathy and helpless card when he wants but I think he knows exactly what he's doing.  Yakky's dad reminded me of my Grandad who had to turn the TV up to earsplitting levels but could hear the phone ringing before any of us.

With such colourful characters in play, you could be forgiven for forgetting that there's a crime to investigate and what a criminal masterpiece that is.  Doc sniffs out the truth like a bloodhound and I really didn't know what was going to come next from page to page.  Hopefully this won't be the last we hear about Doc and Yakky, this modern day Holmes and Watson.

Needle Song is as unconventional as it is brilliant, Russell Day has played an ace and said to the crime genre: I'll see you and I'll raise you.  This is a riveting and completely astounding debut that I highly recommend.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Fahrenheit Press
Buy it from Amazon UK
Buy it from Amazon US

About the author:

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 has always been a miserable bastard. 

Russell’s Social Media Links: Twitter

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your brilliant review, Michelle x