Hired to find a missing man—an alcoholic—Dick Hardesty discovers that an unusual number of alcoholic gay men have vanished within a relatively short period and never heard from again. Clues lead him to a support group for gay couples, where one partner is alcoholic and the other is not. Dick and his partner Jonathan infiltrate the group by claiming Jonathan is an alcoholic. When two more men from the group appear to suffer the same fate as the previous victims, Dick is determined to find out why…and who is responsible.
It’s not easy to solve a crime when no one knows what happened to the victims of it.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about this series is seeing how Dick has matured over time. I’ve mentioned this in a previous review, but I especially enjoyed this character’s growth in this tale because of how long he’s been trying to change. Dick has come such a long way both personally and professionally since I first met him. His hard work started to pay off in the last instalment, but it really sped up in this one. I really loved seeing so many positive changes in this character’s life after getting to know him so well over the previous five books. This was especially true when it came to certain habits of his that he seemed to be growing tired of. It was so nice to see how he finally began to conquer them.
With that being said, there were a few times when the character development overshadowed Dick’s work. As much as I liked seeing so many examples of how the protagonist has changed, I would have preferred to see a little more time spent on the case he was working on instead. There was so much going on with the disappearances that I could have used another clue or two about what Dick was discovering and how he pieced it all together. His logic did make sense, but I would have given this tale a higher rating had I known more clearly how the main character was able to piece certain clues together.
The pacing was strong and steady from the first chapter to the last one. I stayed up late to finish the last thirty pages or so because I was so curious to see how everything would turn out. There simply wasn’t a good place to take a break and stop reading, and that’s a good thing! I definitely like getting this absorbed in a plot. It’s one of the reasons why I look forward to reading Mr. Grey’s stories so much.
While this can be read as a standalone novel, I would suggest starting withThe Butcher’s Son to anyone who is at all interested in following Dick’s adventures from the beginning.
The Bottle Ghosts kept me guessing until the end. I’d recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a challenging mystery.