The HK Monaro wormed it's way into my heart in 1968. Bathurst, Bruce McPhee, Hardie-Ferodo, pole position and the race lap record at that time. A life-long love of those cars was started on the lino of the kitchen in South-West Victoria, shouting at a dodgy TV telecast, enthralled. Sure, my teenage years saw a shift in preference to the HG model, and I would always opt for the dark purple HG with the sidewinder stripes and, of course, the GTS 350, with the stiffened suspension and the power front disc brakes. Alas I suspect that passion is about the only thing that Tara Sharp and I would ever share. As far as STAGE FRIGHT was concerned, the Monaro had me at the very first book. The aura reading, the sense of humour and the madcap "antics" not so much.
STAGE FRIGHT fits right into that sub-genre of crime fiction that includes the Stephanie Plum books, and my particular favourite, the Grace Smith series. Whilst the best of that sub-genre can be hilarious and hugely entertaining, the worst is a tad too forced, often times a little overtly twee and predictable for my liking. They are undoubtedly books for readers who prefer their crime delivered with a hefty dose of dressing up. Chick lit with bodies and a bit of high camp fem-jep.
The Tara Sharp series is going to have it's fans, and if you happen to like the Plum books in particular, something that's got a similar feeling and tone set locally is a very good thing. You will have to have a tolerance for a lot of aura reading, and not mind the occasional bit of romantic tension and heavy-handed humour, but if that's you, then you really should give the local product a go.
STAGE FRIGHT is the third book in the Tara Sharp series. SHARP SHOOTER is the first, SHARP TURN the second.