- Book Title: The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago
- Author: Kenneth D. Michaels
- Publisher: LA MANCHA PRESS; 1 edition (July 22, 2015)
- Book Length: 180 pages
- Genre: Gay, Crime, Suspense, Gay Noir Fiction
- Reviewed by: Diane
- Posting Date: August 2, 2015
The premise for The Gay Detective is intriguing—a Chicago Detective, who happens to be gay and is in a committed relationship, takes on the challenging task of hosting a talk show featuring gay personalities and members of note in the gay community.
So far, so good.
Nick Scott is good at his job, and surprisingly good at hosting a talk show. That he does it under the aegis of the brass at his precinct is interesting, albeit unlikely (suspension of disbelief kicks in at this point). He is a hit, as is the show, but not everyone is a fan and when the first guest is murdered it’s not hard to call it a hate crime.
Then a heinous act that requires all Det. Scott’s professional skills suddenly turns personal as the killer strikes close to home. The department and his family rally around the detective, but the suspicion that he might be a target does not keep him from holding to his on-screen commitments.
Stymied, the investigators begin to think serial killer and must cast their net wide in order to match up the MO of the perpetrator. And in the midst of the investigation, Scott finds an odd friendship in a new partner who has his back, whether Scott wants it or not.
The Gay Detective is atmospheric, light on police procedurals, and at times a bit pedantic about gay themes and issues. It is also intensely focused on a bit of gamesmanship where the reader is challenged to name that celebrity from pop culture, sports and the entertainment sector. Names change but the characterizations make it fairly clear who populates the cameos.
The storytelling is linear and frequently repetitive, particularly when the talk show is replicated like a script. It adds filler and carries through the thematic gay elements without moving the plot forward significantly. For that reason, the book is less a crime novel than a biographical, first person narrative of events. That the murders continue when any reasonable detective and his Captain would know to pull the plug and not endanger any more people is a bit of a head-scratcher—it makes the perp look like the only one not asleep at the wheel.
Despite the drawbacks, The Gay Detective was a light and reasonably enjoyable read. As a whodunit, there were sufficient clues to lead the reader in the right direction. What it lacked in sophistication it made up for it in earnestness, and the addition of a buddy subplot made it interesting.
It you like buddy stories, a plot existing within a crime framework, and a side of wish-fulfillment when it comes to matters of equality, I think you might like this one.
The premier of Nick Scott’s TV talk show, The Gay Detective, appears to be a big hit until his first guest ends up murdered. Nick, also a gay detective with the Chicago Police Department, and his older, straight partner Detective Norm Malone hunt this heinous serial killer tagged The Reaper. This odd couple encounters both personal and professional conflict as this suspenseful noir thriller races to a surprise conclusion that leaves Nick and Norm battling for their lives.
Go to the Author Page for Kenneth D. Michaels
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