“The murder itself is the end of the story. It’s Zero Hour. It’s Zero Hour now.” – Agatha Christie
BLURB: A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the vicious crime while remaining safely hidden behind the closet door?
When the body of a young man is found in a popular midtown park, police and local media quickly pin the brutal killing on a homeless gay kid with AIDS. But Homicide Detective Sgt. Kendall Parker isn’t convinced, even when the suspect is accused of assaulting a police detective with a deadly weapon.
City leaders want the heinous murder solved yesterday and they jump at the chance to pin the crime on the drug-craving teen. Besides, it’s an election year and remaining in office is their top priority, even at the sacrifice of the young man. Sgt. Parker isn’t easily persuaded and is determined to prove Hopper’s innocence, despite protest from his colleagues and the great citizens of Atlanta. And all threatens to expose the deep secret Parker has carefully hidden from his comrades for years.
REVIEW: Normally I lean more towards the contemporary romance end of the M/M spectrum, but sometimes I like to step out of my little box and see what else is out there. I have always been a fan of a good detective/mystery book. When this book came up on our list for review, I decided I would give it a go.
Detective Sgt. Kendall Parker is a very unlikely hero in this book. Not only is Kendall buried so deep in a bottle he can barely find his way out, but he is chugging on that bottle while clinging to the back wall of his very tightly sealed closet. Now, as much as you may want to write this man off for some of his choices the more you read, the more you realize Kendall is doing the best he can in a truly horrible situation.
Kendall is just returning to work form a six weeks leave of absence. Further into the story, we find out that his lover was killed in a boating accident and Kendall blames himself for not being able to save him. This is one the biggest reasons he has for the nightly drinking binges. He is also dealing with being a gay detective with not only a very homophobic partner, but a boss who makes any Teabagger look like a left wing liberal.
When he and his partner catch a murder case in Piedmont Park, they find a victim of a brutal beating.
With further investigation, they find out their victim is not only a gay male dancer but the son of a very wealthy local businessman. Soon one murder victim turns into two and possibly three. It seems that all of the bodies connect back to a dirty politician and a local mobster. Kendall has to fight not only his co-workers, but the press the entire way through this case. He not only makes some new connections but he renews an old friendship thought long dead.
Like I said before, I love a good mystery and this was a GREAT one. I like to try to figure “who done it” while reading any mystery, and this book kept me on my toes. Some of the players were much more obvious than others, and there was a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. If you are looking for a great mystery, you can’t go wrong with Pretty Boy Dead. The police procedure seemed to be spot on, and the personal relationships were very well fleshed out.
This was in no way a romance. There is a hint at a future possibility for love, but I think we will have to stick with the series for a while to get there. The ending left it wide open for future books, and I can’t wait to revisit Kendall as he moves forward.