Rocker turns sleuth


‘Hold Me Down’ by Clea Simon. Polis Books, 288 pages, $26.99

Fame can be fleeting, gone in a blink before it can be appreciated. Gal Raver, the heroine of Clea Simon’s solid “Hold Me Down,” had her share of fame when she was the lead singer and main draw in a women’s rock group. But that was 20 years ago, and she misses that thrill, that power of mesmerizing a sold-out crowd.

At the height of her success, Gal was “fearless” on stage — ”a panther. Juiced as her amp, and twice as loud.” The varnish on her favorite guitar is worn but “her history is in that blonde and battered wood.” Rock was good to her, and, thanks to her accountant, she lives quite comfortably.

"Hold Me Down" by Clea Simon, book jacket.
“Hold Me Down” by Clea Simon, book jacket. (Polis Books / Courtesy)

Gal and her former bandmates are in Boston for a reunion concert to benefit the family of her late drummer, who also was her best friend. During the concert, she freezes while singing their signature song, “Hold Me Down,” believing she’s spotted a former acquaintance in the crowd. The next day, a friend of Gal’s is accused of murdering the man. To prove her friend’s innocence, she turns from rocker to amateur sleuth.

Simon, a former rock critic and the author of more than two dozen mysteries, perceptively illustrates the sacrifices one makes for art. Gal’s memories are tinged with the pain of lost relationships, betrayals by promoters and managers, but also the joy of performing.

Simon’s tour of the Boston music scene will make readers wish “Hold Me Down” included a link to iTunes.

Zoom with the author

Clea Simon (“Hold Me Down”) will discuss “The Dark Side of Fame” and show how to weave motive, emotion and backstory in writing about performing arts during the Sept. 18 virtual meeting of the Mystery Writers of America, Florida chapter. The event begins at 12:15 p.m. and is free. To register and receive the zoom link, visit

Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at