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Death Trick (1981)

de Richard Stevenson

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238485,200 (3.69)4
Gay activist and accused murderer Billy Blount's missing, but Albany PI Donald Strachey doubts Billy's guilt. The 1981 book that launched Richard Stevenson's pioneering series is a cracking mystery and a fascinating trip into bygone gay culture - before HIV, in the bad old days of bath houses and gay disco, police corruption and tacit policies of harassment. (Originally published 1981.)… (més)
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The first of the Strachey mysteries, this is. But it wasn´t the first of the Strachey books I read, so I already knew the characters.
Set in the early 80´s this is the story of homophobic parents, homophobic society and a gay society before the Aids epidemic kicked in. A young man runs after his trick of the night ends up dead in bed. While the police thinks he´s guilty, Strachey who was hired by the young man´s parents, thinks otherwise. A compelling story with moving parts that sets you thinking about gay life 30 years ago.
Yeah, I think, people should read it. ( )
  Kaysbooks | Aug 11, 2012 |
Donald Stratchey, private detective in Albany, is employed by the Blounts to find their son William who disappeared as a murder suspect because they think as a gay man he's more likely than the police to get information out other members of the gay community. It doesn't take long for Stratchey to believe that Billy is innocent and suspects the motives of his parents in wanting to find him, and he does his best to find what really happened. A mystery with a reasonably gripping plot, an engaging detective and a nice sense of time and place. ( )
  mari_reads | May 26, 2009 |
The Blurb

Gay activist and accused murderer Billy Blount's missing, but Albany PI Donald Strachey doubts Billy's guilt. The 1981 book that launched Richard Stevenson's pioneering series is a cracking mystery and a fascinating trip into bygone gay culture - before HIV, in the bad old days of bath houses and gay disco, police corruption and tacit policies of harassment.

The Review

When I got this book I already had some general knowledge about the story, because I own the two movies Third Man Out and Shock to the System, which are based on the two books from the series, on DVD. The two movies in my opinion are... let's say they are okay. ;)

So I knew that Donald Strachey is a gay P.I. in Albany and from the blurb we learn that in Death Trick, the first book of the series, he tries to solve a sensational murder case.

What suprised me when I began to read the book was the overall atmosphere, because this was something that the two movies couldn't visualize very well. In stark contrast to the last mystery I read, Lessons in Desire, there is nothing light and fluffy in this book. Here it is dark, night life, disco, glamorous and I don't know why but the word "sticky" constantly sprang to my mind. I listen to too much Madonna music it seems. ;)

Donald's chase for the murderer leads him to gay bars, bath houses, dark alleys, mental institutions and so on. On his hunt he meets a whole variety of secondary characters like male hustlers, drag queens, homophobic cops, etc. The combination of these very interesting secondary characters and the very believable main characters, especially Donald and his companion Timothy, make this book an amazing read.

Donald is a particularly interesting character. He seems to be your classic private investigator and he is definitely capable of being a tough one when the situation demands it, but there are also scenes in which he is hesitating, which quite surprised me as I wouldn't have expected it of a tough P.I. Don's and Timmy's relationship is woven throughout the story, but it is never the main focus of it. It is a great enhancement to the story but you shouldn't buy this book because you only want to read about hot steamy sex.

The story itself is good and fast paced but not new. It's a variation of the "tough P.I. sticks his nose into something he shouldn't stick it into and finds out more than he bargained for" and "let the reader think he knows everything about all the characters and in the end surprise him with the murderer being the one character the reader would have least expected it of" concepts, but it's a very good variation because of the fantastic characters and the overall setting and atmosphere. Altogether this is a fantastic book and an amazing read.

On a side note: While reading this book I was reminded of another character from a series of books I read years ago. At first I couldn't lay my fingers on it but suddenly I knew. It was the character Nick Duffy from the series of four books about a bi-sexual, ex-cop turned security consultant by Dan Kavanagh (aka Julian Barnes). If you loved the cynical Duffy like I did you can be sure that you'll love Donald, too.

Review first posted at Reviews by Jessewave.
PUBLISHER: Linden Bay Romance
PURCHASE LINK: E-BOOK and PRINT ( )
1 vota shoganrea | Mar 30, 2009 |
Stevenson's writing is tightly focused and fast-paced, as well as highly entertaining. For all that the book is a murder mystery, it had many laugh-aloud moments. The way he describes characters is memorable and the characters' interactions are humanistic and believable.

In this first "Don Strachey" mystery, the private investigator is hired by the parents of a runaway gay man, accused of murdering his lover. The parents are more interested in hushing up the crime and tucking their son away in a mental institution, but Don takes it upon himself to not only find the missing murder suspect, but also to find the murderer. ( )
  imayb1 | Jul 26, 2007 |
Es mostren totes 4
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Gay activist and accused murderer Billy Blount's missing, but Albany PI Donald Strachey doubts Billy's guilt. The 1981 book that launched Richard Stevenson's pioneering series is a cracking mystery and a fascinating trip into bygone gay culture - before HIV, in the bad old days of bath houses and gay disco, police corruption and tacit policies of harassment. (Originally published 1981.)

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