Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Secret Keeper by Dorien Grey
Synopsis From The Back Cover:
What happens when you take a 90-year-old multi-millionaire, add his dysfunctional and greedy family, a garden, a private detective's good-natured partner, a questionable suicide, a missing will, and a secret passed on without the recipient's knowledge? Why, book #13 in the popular Dick Hardesty Mystery series, of course.
When Clarence Bement's death is ruled a suicide, his grandson Mel doesn't believe it, and hires PI Dick Hardesty to prove it was murder. There's no lack of suspects, given Bement's less-than-cordial relationship with most of his offspring, and when rumor arises he'd made a new will before his death it provides a reason why someone likely wanted him dead.
It's up to Hardesty to find out the truth, and unravel the tangled secrets that may be putting the ones he loves in deadly danger.
I've been dreading this review for a while because this was another book I really wanted to like, but I didn't. I'm not even sure I could say I tolerated it. It was actually painful to read, wincing occurred. So this review will be rather short, because I really don't have much of anything nice to say about it.
Now maybe I was wanting to like this book for all the wrong reasons. As a gay man and a mystery lover, it probably comes as no surprise that I enjoy mysteries where the protagonist is a good looking guy who happens to like other good looking guys. I've been reading them since high school and when they are good, such as those written by Joseph Hansen, Mark Richard Zubro, Michael Nava, R.D. Zimmerman, and Richard Stevenson, they are fantastic. They capture the imagination and pull you into the story, this book did not.
With a pen name like Dorien Grey and a main character with the name of Dick Hardesty, I would have assumed that I would love the book. I was expecting wit and style that was sorely lacking, actually it was completely missing. What hurt so much, was the missed opportunity this book displayed to me. The plot, while not all that original, was well thought out and believable and characters are well conceived, but are so one dimensional, you really don't care about anything that happens to them. The bare bones of a good story were there, unfortunately I have to chalk it up to bad writing.
Nothing about the writing felt like it was well planned out or even revised from a first draft. There are these odd breaks in the story were one section end and another starts. They read, especially the first part of the book, almost like journal entries. I'm pretty sure they weren't supposed to be though. It threw the pacing of the book off kilter and I was never really able to get into any sort of rhythm while reading it.
If anyone would like to explore what good gay mystery writing is, please check out some books by the authors I listed earlier. Leave this book alone.