Tag Archives: genre:mystery

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.

Continue reading Fadeout by Joseph Hansen
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Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford


Rating: 6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 
Title: Sinner’s Gin
Author: Rhys Ford
Genre: M/M Romance
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
There’s a dead man in Miki St. John’s vintage Pontiac GTO, and he has no idea how it got there.

After Miki survives the tragic accident that killed his best friend and the other members of their band, Sinner’s Gin, all he wants is to hide from the world in the refurbished warehouse he bought before their last tour. But when the man who sexually abused him as a boy is killed and his remains are dumped in Miki’s car, Miki fears Death isn’t done with him yet.

Kane Morgan, the SFPD inspector renting space in the art co-op next door, initially suspects Miki had a hand in the man’s murder, but Kane soon realizes Miki is as much a victim as the man splattered inside the GTO. As the murderer’s body count rises, the attraction between Miki and Kane heats up. Neither man knows if they can make a relationship work, but despite Miki’s emotional damage, Kane is determined to teach him how to love and be loved — provided, of course, Kane can catch the killer before Miki becomes the murderer’s final victim.

My review: Continue reading Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford

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The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka


Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: The Last Place You Look
Author: Kristen Lepionka
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
URL: Minotaur Books
Price: US $25.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
The Last Place You Look is a head-on collision between an allegedly closed case and a tenacious, troubled private investigator who doesn’t know when to quit.

Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton—black and from the wrong side of the tracks—was convicted of the murders and is now on death row. Though he’s maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station. Willing to try anything, she hires PI Roxane Weary to look at the case and see if she can locate Sarah.

Brad might be in a bad way, but private investigator Roxane Weary isn’t doing so hot herself. Still reeling from the recent death of her cop father in the line of duty, her main way of dealing with her grief has been working as little and drinking as much as possible. But Roxane finds herself drawn in to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she links the disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl.

The stakes get higher as Roxane discovers that the two girls may not be the only beautiful blonde teenagers who’ve turned up missing or dead. As her investigation gets darker and darker, Roxane will have to risk everything to find the truth. Lives depend on her cracking this case—hers included.

My review: Continue reading The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

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Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Genre: M/M Romance
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC, are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

My review: Continue reading Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter

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Fish & Chips by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux


Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Fish & Chips
Author: Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring—an out-and-proud married couple—on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is.

Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game that is their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, they realize there’s more to being partners than watching each other’s backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty’s life, he and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own.

My review: Continue reading Fish & Chips by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

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Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux


Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Sticks & Stones
Author: Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they’re ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone’s sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia, hoping the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they’ve so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.

Ty and Zane, along with Ty’s father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods… where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all. Each other.

My review: Continue reading Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

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Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux


Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 
Title: Cut & Run
Author: Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliché: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.

My review: Continue reading Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

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PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1 by Jordan Castillo Price


Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal, Mystery
URL: JCP Books, LLC
Price: US $4.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Victor Bayne sees dead people for a living…and he sees them off the clock, too. After all, ghosts don’t confine their appearances to a psychic medium’s work hours.

From the macabre to the mundane, from titillating to tender, these PsyCop shorts feature stolen moments between the novels. Get a glimpse of Vic’s life with Jacob between cases, from both men’s viewpoints. Gain new insight on their psychic talents by accompanying them on odd jobs, shopping runs and family visits, or simply enjoy some downtime in the cannery.

The twenty short works range in length from flash fiction to novelettes, woven together to create a novel-length narrative of Vic and Jacob’s relationship from a fresh perspective. The stories are gleaned from various sources: anthologies, newsletters, and web, with four all-new pieces to tie the collection together and delve deeper into your favorite PsyCops’ domestic life.

My review: Continue reading PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1 by Jordan Castillo Price

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Blood & Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker

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Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Blood & Dirt
Author: Lloyd A. Meeker
Genre: Mystery
URL: Wilde City Press
Price: US $4.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Family squabbles can be murder. Psychic PI Russ Morgan investigates a vandalized marijuana grow in Mesa County Colorado, landing in the middle of a ferocious family feud that’s escalating in a hurry. Five siblings fight over the family ranch as it staggers on the brink of bankruptcy, marijuana its only salvation. Not everyone agrees, but only one of them is willing to kill to make a point. Russ also has a personal puzzle to solve as he questions his deepening relationship with Colin Stewart, a man half his age. His rational mind says being with Colin is the fast track to heartbreak, but it feels grounding, sane, and good. Now, that’s really dangerous…

My review: Continue reading Blood & Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker

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Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker

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Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Enigma
Author: Lloyd A. Meeker
Genre: Mystery
URL: Wilde City Press
Price: US $2.99
Summary [from the publisher]:
Who’s blackmailing the high-profile televangelist whose son was famously cured of his homosexuality fifteen years ago? Now in 2009, that ought to be ancient history.

It seems there’s no secret to protect, no crime, not even a clear demand for money—just four threatening letters using old Enigma songs from the 90′s. But they’ve got Reverend Howard Richardson spooked.

Proudly fifty and unhappily single, gay PI Russ Morgan has made peace with being a psychic empath, and he’s managed to build a decent life since getting sober. As he uncovers obscene secrets shrouded in seeming righteousness he might have to make peace with a sword of justice that cuts the innocent as deeply as the guilty.

My review: Continue reading Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker

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