Mention Seattle to me and what comes to mind is Microsoft, Frasier and rain. But Seattle is also the setting for Emerald City, the new book by Chris Nickson.
It’s 1988 and Laura Benton is a music journalist at The Rocket, a publication at which the author also worked in the 1980s. It’s a male-dominated world where Laura feels she has to constantly prove herself in order to be taken seriously. When Craig Adler, songwriter and lead with local band Snakeblood dies of a heroine over dose on the eve of the big time, there’s no reason for anyone to be suspicious. But when Laura discovers that Craig had been clean for a year she suspects there may be more to the story than meets the eye. Then the threatening phone calls start, warning Laura to leave the story alone. But who is making the calls, and who has most to gain from Craig’s death?
Nickson successfully conveys the warmth he feels for the city and he obviously knows the Seattle music scene. But as with his historical fiction, the author weaves enough of his knowledge in to add authenticity without ramming it down the reader’s throat.
I enjoyed learning more about Seattle: my previous experience of Washington State music started and ended with Nirvana. I liked Laura immensely but was less keen on her boyfriend who came across as whiny and needy, and from the stories the other characters related about the victim, I know I would have loved him too.
Seattle: Microsoft, Frasier and rain. After reading The Emerald City, I can now add music and the setting for some fine crime fiction to the list.