Thursday, October 11, 2012
The Dream Ender (Dick Hardesty #11) - by Dorien Grey
Reviewer: Jon Michaelsen
Publisher: Zumaya Publications
A Tightly Plotted Mystery - Well Written, Simple And Stylish
Someone is spreading vicious rumors that a member of a popular Levi/Leather bar, The Male Call, is purposely exposing patrons to AIDS, considered by some as both preposterous and callous. Outgoing PI Dick Hardesty is hired by the bar’s owner to investigate said rumors, convinced someone is out to ruin him and his business, but not believing someone would knowingly, intentionally infect someone with the HIV virus. The story takes place in the early 1980s when HIV/AIDS was in its infancy of knowledge within the gay community. For those who lived during this time – who witnessed our friends dying left and right – the story is both poignant and surreal. It was a time when information about the disease was scarce and effects unknown. Readers unfamiliar with the horror of the time will gain insight into the shock and awe of such a virulent disease that would decimate a community within a few short years, long before enough attention was paid to what would become a modern day pandemic.
Author Dorien Grey provides readers with incredible insight through a plausible mystery both representative and factual of the time without bogging readers down in the severe emotional aspect of the crisis that cause many who survived this time to avoid, and allows us to reflect while enjoying a tightly plotted mystery. Once Hardesty confirms the rumors, the believed source of willingly spreading the deadly virus is killed and a new angle for the investigator becomes personal when his good friends (and lovers) Jake and Jared, are accused of murdering the tough, bike-riding construction worker, Cal Hysong.
Fans of Dick Hardesty no doubt will laud this solid mystery that provides enough twists, turns and investigative skill to keep all guessing, but for any first-time readers of the Hardesty Mysteries, I quickly found not knowing the history of Dick Hardesty – the enormous backstory of ten previous novels -- is moot in order to enjoy this awesome mystery. The characters are memorable, the storyline real, the mystery adroit.
Author Dorien Grey reminds us (or educates us) of the searing face of the AIDS epidemic in the early years and of those irresponsible, cold-hearted persons intent on inflicting rage of having the disease unto others. The storyline is as significant today as thirty years ago as society moves more and more toward ignoring the painful lessons learned back in the early ‘80s.
The Dream Ender is well-written, simple and stylish, yet deft in drawing a reader in as some no doubt will burn the midnight oil reading until the very end.