A Hard Day’s Death Review
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Rock musician Peter Flame is discovered dead in his townhouse, hanging by his neck with a chair kicked out from under him. From all appearances, he committed suicide—but when the police discover that he was dead before he hung himself, they rule it a homicide. Flame’s son, Adrian Duncan, was seen near the scene in an agitated state, fleeing the neighborhood, so the police arrest him for the murder of his father.

Gina Tipton, Adrian’s mother, feels strongly that her son is innocent—so she looks to Spike Berenger, an old friend who’s now a private investigator for Rockin’ Security. Spike takes the case, but he feels there’s a real possibility Adrian is guilty—because father and son weren’t close, to say the least. But the more he looked into things, the more he’s convinced that Adrian is innocent.

The investigation leads Spike to The Messengers, a religious cult that Flame had become involved with in recent years. It also takes him to the dangerous streets where rival bands put on dangerous impromptu concerts, which often end in violence. Then a street band called the Jimmys put a price on Spike’s head—and, suddenly, proving Adrian’s innocence might just cost Spike his life.

Though I like rock music, the lives of rock stars don’t really appeal to me, so I wasn’t as captured by this novel as I probably could have been. I also find it frustrating when an author turns a Christian group into a bunch of crazed occultists who drug their parishioners and have sordid affairs—since it makes true Christians like me look bad and less trustworthy. So that did put a damper on my enthusiasm for A Hard Day’s Death. I do have to concede, though, that it makes for a very interesting scandal.

In addition, A Hard Day’s Death is a thriller that’s packed full of twists and turns that’ll have you guessing right up until the end. At one time or another, I must have suspected almost all of the characters of killing Flame. And though I wasn’t thrilled with the way the religious aspects were portrayed, I was still curious about what The Messengers were up to and what they had to do with Flame’s death, if anything at all.

Spike Berenger is a little hard to warm up to. His character is a bit on the bland side—so he wouldn’t be listed in my top five favorite private investigators—but he’s still a somewhat memorable character. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in future novels—to see how his character continues to develop.

If you’re a die-hard rock fan who’s interested in all aspects of the rock genre—including rock stars’ personal lives—A Hard Day’s Death is a worthwhile read. But if, like me, you only enjoy listening to the music, then you’ll find it’s just a decent read—nothing spectacular, but not half bad, either.

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