Lesbian Book Review of ‘Hard Fall: A McStone and Martinelli Thriller’ by Pascal Scott
San Francisco, 1989. The dead body of Emily Bryson, a university student and part-time exotic dancer, appears on a beach. The police rule it as a suicide but her partner, K. M. “Stone” McStone, has doubts about it. She enlists amateur private investigator Zoe Martinelli to find out the truth.
‘Hard fall’ presents a good depiction of LGBT life in San Francisco in the tumultuous 1980s troubled by AIDS and homophobia. The book also explores different issues such as women sexuality, gun control, bereavement, alcoholism, philosophy, and psychology. The main characters, Stone and Zoe, are well-written and multilayered, and Stone struggles with bereavement and alcohol are realistic and believable.
The plot idea is very interesting and engaging with a few twists and turns. However, I think that the problem lies in its execution. This lesbian mystery novel is written from multiple points of view, though I felt that it would have been enough or more productive to the development of the mystery if there were only two. My other issue is that the pace of the mystery is sometimes too slow to keep the reader interested and the main romance is only mentioned as an afterthought. In my opinion, the romance aspect should have been developed properly or else left for the next installment which I suspect the author might be considering.
Overall, an ok mystery that presents a good depiction of LGBT life in San Francisco in the tumultuous 1980s. 3.5 stars.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.