The baggage from failed relationships can be heavy, but things are magnified even more when a relationship fails in the public eye. That’s what happened to the members of the band New Holland. A hugely successful band in the early 90s, lead singer Greg Tasker’s drug use and personal indulgences eventually caused the band to implode. And though he pissed off a lot of people along the way, no one was more bitter about it than bandmate Steve Priestly.
Nearly twenty years on from their spectacular burnout, however, the band members are coaxed by their former manager, Kane Major, to reform for a reunion tour. Everyone could use the money and, more importantly to Greg and Kane, Greg has some demos for a new album he’d like to launch on the back of New Holland’s reunion and the resulting press coverage. Kane’s even arranged for a handpicked music journalist, Julia Gowans, to shadow the band from rehearsal to tour. And that’s where Joe Geraghty comes in.
Kane wants Julia close, but not too close, so he’s employed private investigator Geraghty to act as a sort of buffer between her and the band. Kane knows things may not exactly run smoothly, especially in the beginning, and he’d rather the journalist not experience any of the bumps on the comeback road. Little could Kane or Geraghty have known exactly how bumpy things were going to get.
Before things with the reunion have even gotten off to a proper start Greg goes missing, and what started as a babysitting job for Geraghty turns into the search for a missing person. Things get very complicated very quickly when it becomes clear that there’s more going on than a flaky musician gone walkabout. Soon Geraghty’s being followed by persons unknown, summoned to visit the local crime boss, had his office ransacked, and even been warned by the police to steer clear of the whole matter. What exactly has Geraghty gotten himself into?
The Late Greats marks the return of Joe Geraghty following author Nick Quantrill’s acclaimed debut, Broken Dreams, and ex-rugby player turned private investigator Geraghty certainly has his hands full in this outing. Whereas Broken Dreams was a bit more atmospheric with the northern England city of Hull as front and center as any character, in The Late Greats character development and interaction unquestionably takes center stage. And there are a lot of characters jostling for space on that stage, as Quantrill steadily introduces new players and unspools several overlapping plot lines that initially put both the reader and Geraghty behind the eight ball trying to figure out how things all fit together.
Not to worry, as Quantrill slowly, confidently pulls each of those threads he’s unspooled back in and skillfully weaves them together into a deliciously vibrant tapestry of a tale. And though things do come full circle with New Holland and Greg Tasker by the time the curtain falls, Quantrill also somehow manages to organically grow the story far beyond where it initially appeared to be going, leaving the reader both satisfied and impressed with Quantrill’s storytelling skills.
You don’t have to have read Broken Dreams to enjoy The Late Greats, though there are some shades of gray in the backstory of Geraghty’s character that will be more fully appreciated if you have.
The Late Greats is available from Caffeine Nights Publishing (ISBN: 978-1907565182).
And be sure to read Nick’s guest post, “The Return of Joe Geraghty.”