Stage Fright

Author: Marianne Delacourt
ISBN: 978-1-74237-790-2
RRP: $19.99

Stage Fright was definitely not what I was expecting but in a wonderful way. Delacourt has blended humour, romance and intrigue beautifully in this novel based in the music industry.

Including a veritable who’s who of the current hip hop scene, mentioning some big local acts and others that are quite new to the scene (or to my knowledge anyway) firmly cements this book as being set recently. This style of music is not my taste but even I was familiar with acts like the Hilltop Hoods, Drapht, Flo-Rida and Bliss n Esso.

Stage Fright is the third book in the Tara Sharp series but my first experience with the character and the author. I am interested to know what happened in the previous books, Sharp Shooter and Sharp Turn, but having missed them hasn’t affected my enjoyment of Stage Fright.

Tara Sharp lives in Perth and that’s where the story begins, in the dingy flat of her security chief where he asks her to take on a job in Brisbane for a music promoter he has a history with.

Early on we realise that there is more to this story than what we can see and the further in we get the more complex the situation, and the more players we discover are involved.

There are so many things to love about this book that it’s difficult to decide where to start. So lets start with the obvious. I mentioned earlier the pop culture references placing this book as happening ‘now’ and that is something I love. Many books are written so that they give a general time period and could really be set anytime which is good in that it helps them keep from becoming dated but it tends to leave me wondering a lot of the time and trying to place them, it’s also good in that the process from putting down the first draft to releasing the book can be quite long so a specific timeframe can be very telling. So I love that Stage Fright is  noticeably quite recent.

stage fright

The setting – who can go past an Australian novel set in two of our capital cities, yet not Sydney or Melbourne. They are two very beautiful cities and ones that seem to get less publicity.

Each of the lead characters is flawed, they have interesting little idiosyncrasies that set them apart from your everyday heroes and heroines. Tara reads auras and body language, a talent she is still learning to use and utilise in the course of her work. Wal has a rather colourful past and it was the onset of narcolepsy that forced a change in his lifestyle and then there’s the US rapper Slim Sledge, the reason Tara has hopped a plane for a job in Brisbane. Slim has star power and a big fan following, he has recently left rehab and is trying to rebuild his career. He is also suffering OCD and terrified of fans getting too close which makes him a great character to watch as he switches from swaggering superstar rapper to terrified manboy curled up on the floor.

The action is neverending and it seems Tara is collecting crises from the devastated, demanding best friend worried about her relationship to the missing security chief, the chemistry with a man she needs to get out of her head and all of the complications that arise with the job she’s working in Brisbane.

Leaving Perth seemed like a great idea at the time but it ran her right into more trouble than she was escaping and dropped her right in the middle of an eccentric array of new characters. Inigo challenges Tara’s lingering psychic scepticism, even as she learns to trust her gift she refuses to put unquestioning faith in the psychic abilities of others, until they earn it. Bon Jovi Ames, Sergeant-at-arms of the West Coast Cheaters, a well built bikie to strike fear into the masses with just a look.

A fun, easy read filled with intrigue and who fits where and how do these pieces fit that kept me engaged and entertained start to finish. I am looking forward to catching up on the rest of the Tara Sharp books when I get a chance.

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