The Good Cop by Dorien Grey

The Good Cop by Dorien Grey
A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #5
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Full Length (151 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

All Tom Brady wanted was to be a good cop; to keep a low profile and prove to a notoriously homophobic police department undergoing its own internal upheavals that gays deserved the right to be among them. But when he and old friend Dick Hardesty go out for a quiet evening, an incident leads to Tom shooting two thugs attacking patrons of a gay bar. Dick finds himself trying to protect Tom from being outed, while heading off a violent antipolice rebellion by the gay community.

The world is changing, but not as quickly as it should.

Dick has really grown as a person since the first instalment in this series. While it isn’t strictly necessary to read The Butcher’s Son, The Ninth Man, The Bar Watcher, and The Hired Man first, I’ve deeply enjoyed seeing how this character has changed over time. Just like living people, his personal growth hasn’t always been steady. Sometime it stalled or happened so slowly that I could barely notice any difference in him. When I compare the sometimes reckless Dick I knew four books ago to the much more thoughtful one I met this time, though, I’m amazed at how much he’s learned from his life so far. His maturation process has been a lot of fun to witness, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he changes in the future.

At times the subplots threatened to overwhelm the main plot due to how many of them there were and how long it took to introduce all of them. While I was interested in them, I would have liked to see more attention paid to figuring out what was going on with the fallout from the shootout that Tom was involved in early on in the plot. There was a lot of interesting information about those events that never had all of the time they needed to be explored because so many other things were happening simultaneously.

With that being said, Mr. Grey definitely knows how to keep me guessing. One of the things I appreciate the most about his writing style is how much time this author spends exploring the world his characters live in. Having such a clear understanding of what life was like for gay men in the 1980s only made me want to know what was going on in the moments before the crime Dorien investigates even more earnestly because of how steeply the cards were stacked against justice ever being served for the victim or the LGBT community as a whole at that point in history.

I’d recommend The Good Cop to anyone who is in the mood for a mystery set in the recent past.

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