Marc reviews the audiobook version of ‘The Good Cop’ (Dick Hardesty Mysteries book 5) by Dorien Grey. The Audiobook was published by the author on January 15th, 2015. It is 6 hrs and 10min long and was narrated by Jeff Frez-Albrecht.
RGR was provided with a free review copy of the audiobook for an honest review.
Why I Read this book: I have wanted to read a Dorien Grey mystery for a long time. Before finding the M/M genre, I read a lot of mystery novels and I still love the genre. I was really intrigued by this gay mystery series and when we had the chance to get a free copy of the audiobook for review, I jumped on it.
One of the residual spots of conflict in gay rights is the police force, and this audiobook confronts that conflict head-on with the murder of a gay policeman and the investigation by the inimitable Dick Hardesty. We meet many of the familiar characters and get to know Jonathan, a young hustler who becomes more than a casual acquaintance. The entire police force is suspect in this community mystery of intrigue and murder.
Because of the publisher change with the Dick Hardesty Mystery Series, you may encounter difficulty obtaining certain titles until they can be reissued (re-edited and with new covers) by Untreed Reads.
Buy Links: Audible
The Cover, Title & Blurb: First, I’m not a huge fan of the cover. A grainy policeman and a rainbow crossing the cover. It seems very simple and didn’t really attract my attention. The blurb, however, really drew me in. I’m a sucker for political tension and thought this would be a very interesting read. The title is simple, but effective. I think a different cover could do wonders here, but I hope a lot of people will give this story a try regardless of the cover.
The Narration: The narration was well done. It seemed to be in the background – I forgot I was listening to an audiobook after a while. I was able to just concentrate on the story and I loved that.
The Story: This was my very first Dick Hardesty Mystery. I had a bad cold and couldn’t concentrate on reading, so when I got this audio review copy for an honest review, I was very happy to just listen to it and concentrate on the story.
This is book 5 of a series where not all books are available to buy right now as I understand. I usually only read series in chronological order, but I felt like it didn’t take away much of my enjoyment of the book. It seems almost like this book opens a new romantic arc, a new way Dick can relate to the police and a good place to start this series for me.
The thing that surprised me most about the mystery was how long it took for the murder to happen. I thought the plot would start with the murder, but we really get to know the victim a lot. Respect him, love him. And it makes what he has to endure and what happens to him in the end so much more impactful.
It’s good that he’s not another victim for the reader, because Dick is very connected to him and this is not just another case for him, either. In fact, the story was very different from the typical PI murder mystery, there was almost no sleuthing, Dick’s involvement in the investigation is very limited.
The suspense of this story comes from Dick being caught in the middle of a volatile gay community that has been strongly suppressed and lost its hero and an ‘old guard’ police force with historic intolerance that seems ready for anything keep to its old ways.
Everything that happens could light a fuse very easily and escalate a terrible situation. Add in Union strikes, a mob gangster and a cute hustler and the death of one of his best friends and bedmates and Dick Hardesty is having a terrible few weeks.
With all sides full of anger and prejudices, a lot of pointing fingers and misinformation or speculation, the political minefield that opened up before Dick was really scary and kept me at the edges of the seat.
A lot of problems that I never even thought about are confronted here in a realistic way and I really appreciate this eye-opener. As much as I don’t like to say it, a lot of the issues dealt with in this book are still very current.
Through it all, Dick is a very sympathetic character and like all the otther characters, he is well-developed and feels three-dimensional. There is a romantic subplot that starts in this book and brings some much neededhope into the storyline. As the major conflict can’T be easily resolved within a single book and is still waging, it is great to have a romantic storyline to root for. There are also some really interesting ‘good’ heterosexual characters in the force that ensure that not all cops are just labeled as homophobic pricks and the gay activists and media are not displayed as angels and I really liked how DOrien portrayed these characters.
This story really resonated with me and I connected with the characters on an emotional level, even as the plot had me at the edge of my seat.
Strongly recommended for people who don’t need a strong romance aspect in their books. It’s a great gay mystery and a wonderful audiobook.
9 of 10 pots of gold (or 4.5/5 stars)
Contact Dorien: Facebook, DorienGrey@gmail.com
When Roger Margason, a lifelong book and magazine editor, decided to try his hand at writing mystery novels with a gay detective, he chose the pen name “Dorien Grey” for a specific reason he is more than happy to explain should anyone care to ask. That he thought he needed a pen name at all was based on the reality of living in a remote and time-warped area of the upper mid-west where gays generally still feel it necessary to keep a very low profile–a sad commentary on our society–but one based on harsh reality.
His first book featured a gay detective named Dick Hardesty, and was intended as a tongue-in-cheek version of the classic, hard-boiled heterosexual detective genre. It was written largely with a gay audience in mind. But as the first book led to the second and then the third, and as his readership grew to include mainstream mystery fans, Dorien slowly became much more than a pseudonym, evolving into an alter ego. “It’s reached the point,” Roger says, “where all I have to do is sit down at the computer and let Dorien tell the story.”
It’s not that Roger has had an uninteresting life. Two years into college, he left to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program: washing out of the program, he spent the rest of his brief military career on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. The journal he kept of his time in the military, in the form of letters home, honed his writing skills and provided him with a wealth of experiences to draw from in his future writing.
Returning to college after service, he graduated with a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois Unversity, and embarked on a series of jobs which worked him into the editing field. While working for a Los Angeles publishing house, he was instrumental in establishing a division exclusively for the publication of gay paperbacks and magazines, of which he became editor. He moved on to edit a leading L.A. based international gay men’s magazine.
Tiring of earthquakes, brush fires, mudslides, and riots, he returned to the midwest, where Dorien emerged, full-blown, like Venus from the sea.
He . . . and Dorien, of course. . . moved back to Chicago after a 40 year absence, and now devote “their” energies to writing. There are now fifteen books in the popular Dick Hardesty Mystery series, and a fifth Elliott Smith paranormal mystery is now in the works. There is also a western/romance/adventure novel,Calico, a compilation of 172 of his every-Monday-and-Thursday blogs–Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs–plus Dreams of a Calico Mouse, a book of poems, and A World Ago: A Navy Man’s Letters Home, 1954-1956.
Roger and Dorien have each other, as it were, but both are always looking for ways to draw you into their world. Each book, each blog, is intended as a conversation (albeit one-sided) with you, and there is nothing “they” enjoy more than hearing from a reader. And please join “them” on Facebook, under “Dorien Grey.”