The Butcher’s Son by Dorien Grey

The Butcher’s Son by Dorien Grey
A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #1
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (144 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Dick Hardesty is pressed into service when someone starts burning down gay bars all over town and the police chief (nicknamed ‘the butcher’) shrugs the whole thing off. Then drag queens and female impersonators get into the act and Dick is required to sleuth out who is hot and who is not.

Some people are more sympathetic to certain types of victims in high-profile crimes. Dick, however, isn’t one of these people.  He doesn’t discriminate based on type, but treat everyone the same.

I was quite pleased with how three-dimensionally the protagonist was written. The plot spent a great deal of time exploring his backstory which only made his quirks even more memorable than they would have been otherwise. His flaws were given an equal amount of attention. Knowing so much about where they came from and why they’d developed, though, only made me a bigger fan of Dick as a person.

The pacing was a little slow in the beginning due to all of the characters the narrator needed to introduce to the audience. While a few of them could have been introduced a little later on, most of the characters needed to show up right away so that the reader would understand what was happening. I understood why Mr. Grey wrote it this way, although I would have chosen an even higher rating had I not been momentarily confused by all of the people who showed up in the first few chapters.

One of the things that matters the most to me in a good mystery are plot twists that I didn’t see coming. This book was full of twists that I couldn’t figure out in advance, and all of them were really well done. They stayed true to the atmosphere of the story while at the same time prodding me to look at the evidence again to see if there was anything else I might have missed.

The Butcher’s Son was a thrilling introduction to the Dick Hardesty series. If this is any indication of what is to come, I can’t wait to see what happens in book two!

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