A woman obsessed with the Boston rock music scene of 20 years ago discovers that it’s not quite what she remembers.
Forty-something Tara Winton hates her comfortable but dull job in corporate communications, so she jumps at the chance to write a story for Scott Hasseldeck at the slick City magazine, a far cry from the fanzine to which they both contributed back in the day. Tara’s ex-husband, Peter, is still trying to get her to grow up by making suggestions about buying a condo and a better car. But they still have occasional sex, and he’s there for her when she wants an escort to the funeral of Frank Turcotte , a former rocker who gave up booze, found Jesus, and married the love of his life, wild child Neela Johnson. The service brings back plenty of memories for Tara, who’s still close friends with Min, whose affair with Frank ended in an abortion. Whatever plans Frank had for a steady life with Neela ended when Neela fell hard for rising star Chris Crack, lead singer of the Aught Nines, a band about to make it big when Chris died from an overdose. Now, years later, his rival Frank has fallen down the basement stairs to his death, and there are rumors that it was no accident. Tara’s questions about the past apparently upset someone enough to slash all her tires. As she learns more, she realizes how naïve she was and how many undercurrents she missed. Did Chris really die from an accidental overdose, and is his death connected to Frank’s more recent accident?
Simon (When Bunnies Go Bad, 2016, etc.), a former Bostonian who once wrote for magazines covering the music scene, kicks off her Boston Noir series with a fascinating reminiscence of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But any hint of murder remains a hint right up to the unsatisfying end.