Tag Archives: 8 stars

Fadeout by Joseph Hansen

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Title:Fadeout
Author:Joseph Hansen
Genre:Mystery
URL:University of Wisconsin Press
Price:US $15.95
Summary [from the publisher]:
Fadeout is the first of Joseph Hansen’s twelve classic mysteries featuring rugged Dave Brandstetter, an insurance investigator who is contentedly gay. When entertainer Fox Olson’s car plunges off a bridge in a storm, a death claim is filed, but where is Olson’s body? As Brandstetter questions family, fans, and detractors, he grows certain Olson is still alive and that Dave must find him before the would-be killer does. Suspenseful and wry, shrewd and deeply felt, Fadeout remains as fresh today as when it startled readers more than thirty years ago.

My review:

“Do you know these lines, Madge? The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction, the weight, the weight we carry is love…”

It was a real pleasure getting to know Dave Brandstetter. Though this series has been on my radar for a while, knowing this first book was published in 1970 put me off reading. Many of the stories I’ve read from the 70’s and 80’s featuring gay characters have ended tragically or portrayed their lives unfairly. 

Dave Brandstetter is an insurance investigator working for his father’s company and investigating the death of entertainer Fox Olson. He’s also grieving the loss of his longtime partner, Rod, who died of cancer. 

As the case unfolds, we also get a glimpse of Dave’s life with Rod, his relationship with his father, and his dedication to his job as he attempts to solve a complicated case. Unfortunately, an insurance claim cannot be paid out until a body is found. As Dave spends time interviewing the Olson family members and gathering evidence, he comes to the conclusion that Fox is still alive. 

Joseph Hansen’s writing is terse and to the point. Though it’s not a style that will appeal to every reader, it works well with this story, giving it a realistic and unsentimental feel. The short sentences helped move the story along at a brisk pace, yet there was enough substance to make me feel very deeply for the characters. There is an undercurrent of sadness throughout that didn’t move me to tears, but left me with a very heavy, depressed feeling. 

“It was only remembering the good times that kept you from taking the knife from the kitchen drawer and, holding it so, tightly in your fist, on the bed, naked to no purpose except that that was how you came into the world and how your best moments in the world had been spent – holding it so, roll onto the blade, slowly, so that it slid like love between your ribs and into that stupidly pumping muscle in your chest that kept you regretting.”

Dave Brandstetter is a wonderfully refreshing character. I very much look forward to accompanying him on new cases and hope he finds love again.

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Dark City by Sarah Kay Moll

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Title: Dark City
Author: Sarah Kay Moll
Genre:M/M Romance
URL:NineStar Press
Price:US $5.99
Other Information/warnings: Depictions of drug use, murder, torture, cutting, and gore.
Summary [from the publisher]:
Jude has a tender heart. Yet he was born into a criminal empire and groomed from childhood to step into his father’s violent footsteps. To survive, he created a second personality. Ras is everything Jude isn’t—cruel, remorseless, and utterly without fear, as incapable of love as Jude is of malice.

But when Ras meets a ruthless socialite, he begins to feel a strange stirring of emotion, a brush of Jude’s passion against his own dark heart. Meanwhile, Jude finds himself with a knife in his hand, the evil in Ras’s soul bleeding into his own.

As the walls between them crumble, they could lose everything—their lovers, their family, and their hold on the dark city itself.

Coming together could break them…or make them whole.

My review:

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Angel and the Assassin by Fyn Alexander


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Angel and the Assassin
Author: Fyn Alexander
Genre: M/M Romance
URL: Amazon
Price: US $4.99
Other Information/warnings: Explicit sexual content and violence
Summary [from the publisher]:
Kael Saunders loves to dominate handsome, masculine men like himself. Being in charge is his way of life whether it be in his work with the Secret Intelligence service, his personal life, or in the dungeon. The last thing he expects when he is out on a hit is to fall in love with Angel, an 18 year old boy, desperate for the love and guidance of a Daddy. Angel also has a passion for being spanked and restrained. Two very different men find love in a world of skilled assassins, Bosnian terrorists and dungeon play.

My review: Continue reading Angel and the Assassin by Fyn Alexander

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Ground Zero by Andrew Holleran


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Ground Zero
Author: Andrew Holleran
Genre: Non-Fiction
Price: Out of Print
Summary [from the publisher]:
Angry, frightened, sorrowful, yet filled with caring and compassion, this collection of deeply personal and powerful essays ponders how the AIDS epidemic has changed life for gay men, especially those in New York City.

My review: Continue reading Ground Zero by Andrew Holleran

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Vampire Claus by Robert Winter


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Vampire Claus
Author: Robert Winter
Genre: M/M romance
URL: Amazon
Price: US $2.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his scheme to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

Vampire Claus is a 30,000-word standalone gay romance about a lonely vampire and a fearless mortal with no instinct for self-preservation. A heartwarming ending, no cliffhanger, and a young man who discovers he has a thing for fangs. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

My review: Continue reading Vampire Claus by Robert Winter

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Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera
Author: Amy Brandt (Editor), Tseng Kwong Chi (Artist)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Art
URL: Chrysler Museum of Art/Grey Art Gallery/Lyon Artbooks
Price: US $55.00
Summary [from the publisher]:
This volume is the first comprehensive survey of the work of Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–90), a revered photographer and performance artist of the 1980s. Reproducing more than 100 works by Tseng from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, and including archival materials from his commissions for the Soho Weekly News, the book presents Tseng’s best-known self-portrait series, East Meets West, as well as lesser–known works, plus portraits of his friends Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, among others.

My review: Continue reading Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera

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Scarlet & The White Wolf by Kirby Crow


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: The Pedlar and the Bandit King
Author: Kirby Crow
Genre: M/M Romance, Fantasy
URL: Amazon
Price: US $4.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Scarlet of Lysia is an honest peddler, a young merchant traveling the wild, undefended roads to support his aging parents. Liall, called the Wolf of Omara, is the handsome, world-weary chieftain of a tribe of bandits blocking a mountain road that Scarlet needs to cross. When Liall jokingly demands a carnal toll for the privilege, Scarlet refuses and an inventive battle of wills ensues, with disastrous results. Scarlet is convinced that Liall is a worthless, immoral rogue, but when the hostile countryside explodes into violence and Liall unexpectedly fights to save the lives of Scarlet’s family, Scarlet is forced to admit that the Wolf is not the worst ally he could have, but what price will proud Scarlet ultimately have to pay for Liall’s friendship?

My review: Continue reading Scarlet & The White Wolf by Kirby Crow

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City Knight Compilation by T.A. Webb


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: City Knight Compilation
Author: T.A. Webb
Genre: M/M Romance
URL: Amazon
Price: US $4.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
“Once upon a time, in the kingdom of the south, there was a scared young man named Sir Benjamin. Now, Sir Benjamin, he’d been alone since he was a young man, and nobody wanted him and he didn’t want anyone. At least, he didn’t think he did. Then along came the City Knight, Sir Marcus, who was charged with protecting the people of the kingdom. His armor was a little dinged, and his heart a little tired, because he’d loved and lost and wasn’t sure he could love again. Then one wet, cold night, he met Sir Benjamin, and rescued him.”

Marcus felt a single tear run slowly down his cheek. “No, baby, you have that wrong. It was Sir Benjamin who rescued Sir Marcus.”

Benjamin kissed the tear away and whispered, “They rescued each other. But, baby, it’s not the end. With you, it will never be the end.”

My review: Continue reading City Knight Compilation by T.A. Webb

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The Slave Catcher by Lilia Ford


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: The Slave Catcher
Author: Lilia Ford
Genre: M/M Romance
URL: Amazon
Price: US $.99
Other Information/warnings: Explicit M/M erotic content, a master/slave dynamic, BDSM elements, and dubious consent
Summary [from the publisher]:
Star City, best known for its brothels and casinos, is one of the few planets in the quadrant that outlaws slavery—for everyone, that is, except the galaxy bullies, the Borathians. Telepaths and recent conquerors of a backwards planet named Earth, the Borathians are simply too powerful to refuse. A special treaty allows them to bring their pleasure slaves or “bonds” onto the planet, and if one escapes, they have five days to recover him.

Sam Beron, private locator, may have been born on a Maradi space cruiser, but Star City is his home now and he’d say he despises slavery as much as any native. Unfortunately, a run of bad luck at the casino tables leaves him flat broke and scavenging expired military rations out of a neighboring dumpster. Next thing he knows, the Borathians are offering him a fortune to track down one of their escaped bonds, a beautiful Earth boy named Liam. What’s a hungry locator to do?

My review: Continue reading The Slave Catcher by Lilia Ford

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Divide & Conquer by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Divide & Conquer
Author: Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Baltimore, Maryland, is a city in alarming distress. Rising violence is fanning the flames of public outrage, and all law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are catching blame. Thus the FBI’s latest ideas to improve public relations: a municipal softball league and workshops for community leaders. But the new commitments just mean more time Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have to spend apart when they’re happily exploring how to be more than by-the-book partners.

Then the latest spate of crime explodes in their faces—literally—throwing the city, the Bureau, and Ty and Zane’s volatile partnership both in and out of the office into chaos. They’re hip-deep in trouble, trying to track down bombers and bank robbers in the dark with very few clues, and the only way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel together requires Ty and Zane to close their eyes and trust each other to the fiery end.

My review: Continue reading Divide & Conquer by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

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