The author, Dorien Grey, has been on my ‘must read’ list for some time and so when a chance came up to read one of his works and review it, I was really pleased. I chose to read the first of ‘The Dick Hardesty Mysteries’, The Butcher’s Son and my review is below,
Title: The Butcher’s Son
Author: Dorien Grey
Publisher: Zumaya Boundless
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
In the beginning…
Dick Hardesty’s first case
Did the rabidly homophobic chief of police with political ambitions murder one of his identical-twin sons for being gay? And what secrets does the surviving twin hold?
Dick Hardesty, working for the public relations firm charged with helping the chief in his run for governor, is assigned the task of being liaison with the chief’s dysfunctional family. Can he pick his way through the skeletons in the chief’s closet in time to derail the man’s political plans?
To those who led the way
These are the words at the beginning of this, the first of the ‘Dick Hardesty Mysteries’, and they are exactly the right words to introduce you to this era in history. I didn’t want to tag this story as ‘historical’ as that tends to conjure visions of ruffled shirts and breeches. There is nothing wrong with that sub genre, but it is the wrong image for this series. This is an American city just after ‘Stonewall’, which has its place in history but is not the history of ruffles and horses. It is a modern history that is very important to everyone in and around the LGBTQ world and Dorien Grey conjures it up perfectly in this novel.
I should point out that this was after Stonewall but not by all that much, and the community hadn’t gotten it’s act together…Blatant homophobia was the attitude of choice for most police forces, and ours was particularly noted for its less-than-tolerant methods…bust a gay bar, haul in thirty or forty gays too scared or too poor to fight it, charge them with “lewd and lascivious conduct”, drop the charges down to “disturbing the peace” and slap them with $350 fine for a no contest plea.
This added to the city’s income of course meant everyone was happy except for the gay men ‘…but who cared?’ The author weaves history seamlessly with fiction. This means when gay bars start being burned down and drama starts affecting Dick, by his proximity to the action, his job and his friends; the line between history and fiction is gone and there is just the story.
This is a proper mystery with a personal voice. The writing is refreshingly good and flows without jarring plot holes, typos or grammatical inaccuracies. Dick Hardesty is a little cynical but with a gentle, slightly sarcastic and humorous nature. He is coming to the natural end of his relationship with, Chris,
…my lover of five years, was getting the seven-year itch two years early.
and when Chris is offered a fabulous job in New York their permanent separation is accepted between them and is very amicable if sad. They continue their routine of work and evenings in and out, throughout their last weeks together and become embroiled in the firing of gay bars, which has everyone a little wary,
…I asked for one [table] close to an exit, as usual…
and he was lead to one,
…by a lesbian in full male drag, a nice touch of equality, I thought…
The story is full of wonderful quips, humour and sarcastic descriptions and with the twists and turns in the plot this is an enjoyable page turner.
I can’t really give much of the plot away or the twists and surprises will become apparent and it is so worth reading this story free from spoilers. There is a romantic element and there are some sex scenes, which are sensual and low key or implied and absolutely part of the story.
I can’t believe I have left it so long before reading one of Dorien’s novels and although I was given this review copy by the author, immediately after finishing it I bought and downloaded the next in this series ‘The Ninth Man’and then’The Bar Watcher’. I am officially hooked.
I would like to thank the author for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|