Crime fiction and music have always been inextricably intertwined. Fans of the genre can tell you what their favorite fictional detectives are likely listening to at any given moment – perhaps even more accurately than they can list their own playlists. With World Enough, former music critic Clea Simon takes the idea one step further, immersing the reader in a very specific place and time within our musical landscape.
World Enough is a memory piece, in which the main character, Tara Winton reminisces nostalgically about the Boston club scene of the 1980s. However, with the wisdom of age also comes the realization that the underground music scene may have been hiding more unsavory activity than expected sex, drugs, and Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Hired for her dream gig – writing a Behind the Music-type article covering the hottest bands of the past – Tara stumbles upon a cover-up. A recent death within her circle of colleagues raises red flags and digging deeper into it exposes more fissures in her history than Tara could have ever imagined. Unsure who to trust, Tara must rely on her own talents to uncover the truth.
Clea Simon so expertly renders the 80’s music scene that readers will find themselves fully transported back to that heyday. As she describes the atmosphere within the clubs, readers will undoubtedly feel the slick moisture on the beer bottles and smell the questionable odors permeating the air. Tara’s research for her article allows the past and present to flow into and from each other like a drug-induced fantasia.
Surrounding Tara – in both time periods – are an oddball collection of comrades with varying degrees of self-awareness. Some have delusions of grandeur, clinging to whatever notoriety they can muster; while others have accepted the harsh realities required when adolescence is left behind for adulthood. Tara stands firmly at the crossroads between these two worlds, able to understand both viewpoints, separate fiction from reality, and able to express it for others to understand.
The crime elements in the storyline are completely organic within this trip down memory lane. World Enough is a perfect example of how to blend setting and plot. Readers will long to hear the songs of The Aught Nines as the background soundtrack to their reading escapades. This gritty and gripping standalone will please fans of both noir and traditional mysteries.