Hold Me Down

Hold Me Down

HOLD ME DOWN is a standalone novel of suspense, set in the basement clubs and dark back rooms behind the stage lights of rock and roll stardom.

Now a Mass. Book Award "Must Read"!

"Provocative, moving, and suspenseful. Don't miss it."
―New York
 Times bestselling author of Last Girl Ghosted Lisa Unger

"In electric prose, Simon conjures the rock-and-roll world, its drink, drugs, and band-dynamics, and the twin seductresses of excess and success, as she makes a penetrating portrait of friendship."
Nina MacLaughlinBoston Globe

"Simon perceptively illustrates the sacrifices one makes for art. Simon’s tour of the Boston music scene will make readers wish “Hold Me Down” included a link to iTunes."
Oline Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel

"A mystery that explores character motivations ... For fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Janet Evanovich."
Library Journal

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About the Book

This riveting work of dark suspense from acclaimed author Clea Simon opens with Gal, a rock star for a hot minute twenty years earlier, back in Boston to play a memorial for her late drummer/best friend when she finds herself freezing on stage at the sight of a face in the crowd. The next day, the middle-aged musician learns that the man she saw has been killed – beaten to death behind the venue – and her friend’s widower charged in connection with his death. When the friend refuses to defend himself, Gal wonders why and, as the memories begin to flood back, she starts her own informal investigation. As she does so, she must reexamine her own wild life, her perception of the past, and an industry that monetizes dysfunction in a dark tale of love, music, and murder.

Like 2017’s Massachusetts Book Awards “must read” World Enough, HOLD ME DOWN deals with love in all its forms, community, and rock and roll from a strong, if damaged female perspective.


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"At once rough and redemptive, “Hold Me Down” explores the intensity of youth, the inertia of middle age—and the eternal possibility of awakening."
"Clea Simon knows how to capture the texture of the rock club — its heat, sex, power, energy, and danger, too. Her propulsive new thriller, “Hold Me Down” ...conjures the rock-and-roll world, its drink, drugs, and band-dynamics, and the twin seductresses of excess and success, as she makes a penetrating portrait of friendship. "
With HOLD ME DOWN, Simon "stakes her claim as crime fiction’s foremost purveyor of tales that blend mystery with music. Readers will be forgiven for thinking they could turn on the radio and hear Gal’s songs playing next to today’s hottest hits – that is how vividly Clea Simon brings everything to life."
"Few rock novels I've read (and I've read a few) capture the grinding reality and elusive delirium of playing loud music onstage with as much knowledge or sympathy as HOLD ME DOWN. That the musicians in the story are all women makes it even more special."
– Ira Robbins, co-founder of Trouser Press and longtime music journalist
"Hold Me Down is terrific. Its power lies in the vitality of Clea Simon’s prose and her insider savvy. ...when Gal straps on her bass, the instrument heavy and slung low across her hips. There’s enough sex and visceral longing in that posture to match any male rock and roll fantasy."
"Simon's pacing in this crime thriller offers more than plot and character: She reincarnates the demanding sexuality of the rock underground with the costs of fame and addiction. Page by page, scene by traumatic scene. ...Anyone who's dreamed of the power of being a rock performer will get double the emotional kick from this raw and compelling suspense novel. Simon's particular genius in HOLD ME DOWN is shining her light into the world of tough, struggling, and brilliant women."
"Like the dark and twisting melody of a forgotten song stuck in your head, HOLD ME DOWN is lyrical, layered, and full of surprises. Simon has penned a raw and emotional thriller with a heartbeat, about lost dreams and missing friends, regrets and buried memories, the final note reminding us that it's never too late to start again. Provocative, moving, and suspenseful. Don't miss it."
“A flat-out, stoked-up, red-alert blistering justice-gets-done story that you can’t put down.”
– E. Jean Carroll, author of What Do We Need Men For?
“Gripping and intense, HOLD ME DOWN is a darkly suspenseful dive into friendship, fame, murder, and the thrilling power of rock music. I couldn’t put it down.”
"The big mystery in this exquisite novel is not the one in the story but the one in the way Clea Simon tells it. We hear music that never existed, pine for memories we couldn't have, and mourn for the survivors. How did she do it? Simon is a wizard."
“No one understands the music scene like Clea Simon! This pitch-perfectly dark psychological suspense underscores the price of fame, the price of friendship, and the temptations of success. One brave former rock star decides to risk everything to solve a murder--and finally faces her past and her future. Sharp and insightful, and written with exquisite detail, this story has a soundtrack that will linger long after the final page.”
“HOLD ME DOWN is a joyous novel about friendship and survival, but what dark, bitter joy. Simon has gone deep into a world many women know all too well, where pride, guilt and pain do battle inside the stories we tell. A cracking plot in a rich setting round out this important, timely book to perfection.”
“HOLD ME DOWN is powerfully written and compulsively readable. Part murder mystery and part wistful history of a one-time rock star and her deeply buried secrets.”
– Dave Zeltserman, award-winning author of over 20 crime, thriller, and horror novels, including Small Crimes, now a Netflix film
“A hard-rocking riff of a novel, HOLD ME DOWN explodes with a passion for music while also probing the intimate betrayals buried under a haze of alcohol and pills. Simon tells her story from the perspective of an aging female star trying to understand where it all went wrong, expertly exploring how music seeks to embody truth, even when musicians hid their own pain behind the melodies.”
“Clea Simon’s devastatingly powerful mystery hits you like a punch in the heart. About aging, regret, and women in rock and roll, it’s also about how no matter how hard you fight, some things are never behind you, and that survival doesn’t always look like what you think it does. Gripping, truthful and provocative.”
Other Book in "Psychological Suspense"
Series: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Polis Books
Publication Year: 2021