Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gay Mysteries

Happy Pride everyone! This is a time for celebration and anytime is right for reading a great mystery. Over the years I have been noticing more and more mysteries featuring gay characters. Here are a few that you might consider:

Robert and Monette series by David Stukas. This is the very first gay mystery series that I read. I was wandering the mystery section of the Alderney Gate Library and came across Wearing Black to the White Party. Those who love a campy romp will enjoy prudish Robert, his lesbian friend Montette and their promiscuous pal, Michael. I love the humour and the mystery Stukas places in each of his books. This series is filled with a mixed bag of odd balls and stereotypes – just like you will find in the Sookie Stackhouse or Stephanie Plum series. This is "chic lit" for gay men, with racy sex and that "perfect" lover we all search for.

Henry Rios mystery series by Michael Nava. Rios is a gay, Hispanic criminal defense lawyer from San Francisco. This series started with the novel, The Little Death and ended with Rag and Bone. The personal struggle for Rios is the role of family and machismo in the Hispanic community. Rios discovers that your family are not necessarily the people you are related to. As the New York Times Book Review put it "Henry doesn’t win any friends for choosing dispassionate justice over revenge. But he does it anyway, because he’s one of the good guys–and Nava is one of the best". Nava has won 4 Lambda Awards and received that organization’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Pharoah Love mysteries by George Baxt It is believed that the gay/lesbian police series began with this author’s A Queer kind of Death. NYPD Detective Pharoah Love is the first gay African American main character and the first transsexual.

Paul Turner mysteries and Tom Mason mysteries, both series by Mark Richard Zubro. It is not very often that you find an author who has two separate series, but Zubro manages both well. His series are set in Chicago and the surrounding Cook County area. The books are fast paced, with excellent plots and well-rounded characters. The Tom Mason series features Tom, a high school teacher and his boyfriend, Scott Carpenter, a professional baseball player. The Paul Turner series feature a Chicago police detective and father of 2 boys.

Benjamin Justice mystery by John Morgan Wilson. Wilson has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of American and 3 Lambda Literary Awards, so you know he has to be good! It was the first of the Benjamin Justice series that won the Edgar for best first novel. Benjamin Justice is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter living in Los Angeles. Many of the plots seem to be taken directly from today’s headlines. The fifth book, Blind Eye, deals with Justice searching for the Catholic priest who molested him when he was 12.

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