Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Bar Watcher (Audio Version) by Dorien Grey – Narration by Jeff Frez-Albrecht

Reviewer: Jon Michaelsen
Publisher: Dorien Grey

In the third book in the Dick Hardesty gay P.I. series, we find tough guy, Dick, playing the field much more so than the first couple books, which is interesting in that this novel is set at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic (which actually isn’t mentioned by name since the virus was not yet identified). Rumors abound of otherwise healthy young gay men getting sick and dying, causing Dick to take note. It so happens, Hardesty’s latest case involves investigating the death of one of the partners of “Rage”, a popular, members only gay bathhouse where only the gorgeous need apply.

But while looking into the private club’s managing partner’s murder, Hardesty begins noticing other deaths of suspicious circumstances involving gay men, and with the help of his latest squeeze, Jarod, finds a common thread among all the deaths – including that of Rage’s manager, former porn star Comstock. It’s not long before Dick realizes there is a possible serial killer targeting gay men of the nasty kind.  

What I found striking in this novel along with the mystery- which is solid, deftly written, with twists and turns–is Hardesty’s philandering. Wait, did that just age me a bit? Hardesty is a bit of a horn-dog in this novel, which is understanding considering the time the story takes place during the very early stages of the AIDS crisis. I will be so interested to see how Grey deals with the emerging crisis since it was so much a part of the lives of gay men everywhere, especially in large, gay popular cities in the USA.

Again, I must admit that I listened to the unabridged audio book version of The Bar Watcher. Unlike the previous two novels, which I had read both print and listened to the corresponding audio versions, this one I did not. I still feel I got a received a great reading experience. I appreciated listening to the same voice of the narrator, Jeff Frez-Albrecht, who narrated the first two Dick Hardesty mysteries. He helps to bring Hardesty to life in a deadpan, non-complicated way, yet also helps us to view a glimpse of Dick’s inner thoughts through Dorien Grey’s awesome prose.

I highly recommend The Bar Watcher, and the entire Dick Hardesty P.I series!