Overjoyed about this rave review of HOLD ME DOWN in the Sunday Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star:


For a few rockers—the Rolling Stones are the archetype—the road goes on forever.

For many, it detours into ordinary life: work, family, normality.

For others, it crumbles into rehab, retreat, regret and repressed recollections—as it does for Gal Raver, the one-time vocalist and leader of an all-female, Boston-based band in Clea Simon’s “Hold Me Down” (Polis Books, $26.99, 280 pages).

As the story opens, Gal and two bandmates are performing a memorial benefit for the group’s late drummer, Aimee Lanell, a recent victim of cancer. While performing, Gal sees a face in the crowd, one she soon realizes belongs to ex-roadie Tom “T.K.” Kennedy.

The next day, Aimee’s estranged husband, Walter, is charged with homicide— and to the shock of their daughter, Camille, refuses to defend himself and plans to plead guilty.

Enter Gal, who’s determined to investigate. But her selective and impaired memories of two-plus decades earlier complicate her efforts.

Simon, the author of three works of nonfiction and 28 previous mysteries, began her career as a rock critic. She brings her bounty of experience and knowledge to “Hold Me Down”—a story steeped in the requisite sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll—but also one that eschews the gratuitous.

Ricocheting between past and present, Simon unfolds the story at a quick-but-never-rushed pace while simultaneously peopling it with imaginatively created and adroitly rendered characters, none of whom fall into the category of cardboard cutouts, and of whom Gal is particularly memorable.

At once rough and redemptive, “Hold Me Down” explores the intensity of youth, the inertia of middle age—and the eternal possibility of awakening.

Read the entire mystery roundup here: https://fredericksburg.com/entertainment/arts/books/december-mysteries-roundup-crime-fiction-authors-talents-shine-in-this-months-picks/article_2bee2ae6-9b24-5f83-bf69-d59e0e80a1b1.html?fbclid=IwAR1FLFIKs3qO_8mGg_nwbviPtxb_lbEqwJaOCOzHLWZ7HljEn_qWp9MHVLU