The Bar Watcher by Dorien Grey

The Bar Watcher by Dorien Grey
A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #3
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Full Length (158 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When the obnoxious owner of a gay bathhouse begins receiving threatening messages accusing him of not admitting people inside that he doesn’t deem “hot” enough, he enlists the services of private detective Dick Hardesty to find the person behind the notes. When the owner is murdered following a heated argument with Dick, Hardesty becomes a suspect. Following a succession of other seemingly unrelated deaths — all involving individuals noted for their cruelty to other gays — Hardesty begins to suspect the actions are of someone who is looking to “take out the garbage” of the gay community. Can he solve the case and clear his name before the body count rises even further?

They say karma catches up with everyone eventually. Has someone decided to give karma a helping hand?

Life in the 1980s was very different from the way people live in 2015 in some ways. I was completely fascinated by these differences because I hadn’t realized that the opinions of society in general have shifted so radically on certain topics. It’s difficult to discuss this in detail without giving away spoilers, but it was definitely a highlight of the plot for me.

Dick was such a fascinating protagonist in the first book in this series, The Butcher’s Son. It came as a surprise to me to see how little he’s changed as a person since then. He seemed to make the same choices over and over again. This wasn’t something I would have expected at all when I was first introduced to him, so it would have been really helpful to know why this was the case. Even a brief explanation of where he was in his life and why he hasn’t addressed certain issues yet would have prompted me to choose a much higher rating for this tale!

The mystery itself kept me on my toes. The clues required me to think methodically and take a few notes in order to determine what they were telling me. This is something that I specifically look for in this genre because it feels so satisfying to work alongside the main character as we both try to figure out what actually happened.

There were references to events from The Butcher’s Son and The Ninth Man that will only make sense to people who are already familiar with this series. I’m glad that I’ve read everything in order so far, although this story can be read a standalone novel.

I’d recommend The Bar Watcher to anyone who likes to be kept guessing until the very end.

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