A young man has been brutally murdered. The gay son of a wealthy family has disappeared. Now it's up to private dick Don Strachey to get to the bottom of this mess--even if he has to cruise every gay bar in the city to do it! Don Strachey isn't exactly the most sought-after private eye in Albany, New York. In fact, this gay P.I. has gotten to the ...
A young man has been brutally murdered. The gay son of a wealthy family has disappeared. Now it's up to private dick Don Strachey to get to the bottom of this mess--even if he has to cruise every gay bar in the city to do it! Don Strachey isn't exactly the most sought-after private eye in Albany, New York. In fact, this gay P.I. has gotten to the point of having to write checks to pay his tab at the cheapest lunch counter in town. And he isn't sure that the latest one, for the grand total of two dollars and ninety-three cents, is going to clear. Then the phone rings. Billy Blount, the gay heir to one of Saratoga Springs' upper-crust families, has disappeared, and his parents want him back. On top of that, Billy, a young and outspoken gay activist, is wanted for the grizzly murder of the man he slept with on his last night in Albany--a man he'd never met before that night! Set in the glorious, promiscuous pre-HIV late 1970s, Death Trick: A Murder Mystery is a fast-paced excursion through the seamy underside of gay Albany. From gay discos where the hard-pumping music never stops, to the city's infamous baths, to the dark alley behind the local precinct house, this hard-bitten private dick searches for answers to the questions that plague Billy's parents and the police. With his faithful companion (and unfaithful lover) Timmy, plus a cast of characters that includes drag queens, ex-jock gay bar owners, homophobic cops, male hustlers, and wealthy suburbanites, Strachey begins a chase that leads him to seedy gay bars, posh suburban homes, and pricey mental institutions where they use electric shock to destroy "sick" gay tendencies.
Thankfully, this 1981 mystery novel has been reprinted--it's well worth it. Better to read one good gay mystery than ten bad ones. This is Richard Stevenson's first in the Don Strachey series, and it's overflowing with the good qualities he has--wit, satire, poignancy, gay survivorship, and some amazing writing. Also, the action and happenings don't let up--unlike many mystery novels, which begin with an interesting premise, then doze until the final apocalypse. That means it is a bit complex, but really isn't hard to follow, "Death Trick" sizzles with meaning. Richard Stevenson's other books are well worth reading (there are eight more in the series). But this one has the freshness of a first novel.
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