In the style of Mickey Spillane –
Story blurb: Dick Hardesty is pressed into service when someone starts burning down gay bars all over town and the police chief (nicknamed ‘the butcher’) shrugs the whole thing off. Then drag queens and female impersonators get into the act and Dick is required to sleuth out who is hot and who is not.
Also available in audio-book format.
About the author: If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, Dorien Grey qualifies. When long-time book and magazine editor Roger Margason chose the pseudonym “Dorien Grey” for his first book, it set off a chain of circumstances which has led to the comfortable division of labor and responsibility. Roger has charge of day-to-day existence, freeing Dorien—with the help of Roger’s fingers—to write. It has reached the point where Roger merely sits back and reads the stories Dorien brings forth on the computer screen.
Review by Gerry Burnie
I’m feeling lazy this week, so it’s time to dip into my reserve pile of authors and books that ‘go without saying.’
Dorien Grey is one such author, and the introduction to his Dick Hardesty series, The Butcher’s Son [Untreed Reads, January 20, 2015], is the novel I have chosen.
As I have implied above, you really can’t go wrong with a Dorien Grey novel. The plot is generally clever, with well-conceived twists and turns, and his insightful witticisms are scattered like pearls along the way, i.e. “The voice was warm, sincere, and confident – the kind of voice that makes me want to check and see if my wallet’s still there.” For those of you who share my vintage, this line could be right out of the style of Mickey Spillane.
High praise indeed, for in my opinion the really good, popular mystery-writer’s craft, ended with him.
In this story, Hardesty is hired by a rather pretentious PR firm to ‘package’ a homophobic cop seeking election to the governor’s mansion. Quite a package, since this cop’s background includes a gay son who was murdered for his gayness, and another son who is a hell-fire-and-brimstone preacher dead set against homosexuals.
The ‘hell fire’ in this case starts seeping out to burn some of the most popular gay bars in town, and so Hardesty is drawn in to investigating these occurrences as well.
Not surprisingly, the cop and his son are prima facie suspects, and so the juxtaposition of Hardesty the PR person, and Hardesty the sleuth, forms an interesting twist to the story.
Masterfully written, as one might expect, I rate it as four and one-half bees.
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