Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pawn of Satan: A Paul Turner Mystery by Mark Zubro

Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Publisher: MLR Press, October 2013
Page: 303

Chicago police detective Paul Turner is the gay father of two teenage boys. He lives with his life partner, Ben Vargas, who owns an auto repair shop, but spends most of his time with his longtime squad partner, the irascible Detective Buck Fenwick. At the start of this book (the 11th in this series), Paul and Buck are investigating the murder of a Catholic bishop, whose body was found on a riverbank in a seedy section of Chicago. They learn that the bishop was apparently gay – an open secret among many of the local clergy - and even had a penthouse pad he shared with his lover, who was far from cooperative in their investigation. Looking further, they find a disturbing pattern that includes paying local young men for sex, investigations the Bishop made into possible fraud committed by other church officials, plus a big guy who seems to show up right before them at every scene, all of which seem like likely clues to the mystery of who killed him, and why.

I have been a fan of Zubro’s mysteries for many years, and am thrilled he is back creating new titles in both this and the “Tom and Scott” series. He is a master storyteller, who carefully balances a great mystery with diverse and colorful characterizations, wit and frequent peeks into the characters’ personal lives. Very light erotic content just adds to the perfect mix. Well-written and much recommended, five stars out of five. 

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