“Pretty Boy Dead: A Kendall Parker Mystery” by Jon Michaelsen— Staying In or Coming Out?

pretty boy deadMichaelsen, Jon. “Pretty Boy Dead: A Kendall Parker Mystery”, Wilde City, 2014.

Staying In or Coming Out?

Amos Lassen

Kendall Parker is a homicide detective in Atlanta, Georgia. When a male stripper is murdered, a go-go dancer is missing and a city councilman seems to be involved in something not kosher, Parker is called upon to help solve the crime. However, he is not out and this crime could make him deal with his sexuality.

A body is found in a park and the police and media are quick to pin the blame on Hopper, a homeless gay guy who is suffering with AIDS. Parker, however, is not sure. It is that the city wants the crime solved quickly and there is a rush to judgment. It is convenient to pin the crime on the druggie, homeless guy and since it is near election time, the council members want to keep their seats. Parker, on the other hands wants to prove the guy’s innocence but he knows that to so could cost him his privacy about his sexuality. The affair turns out to be more than a murder investigation and the dark underground of Atlanta is about to have the lights turned on. This is no simple murder mystery—it a dark look at Atlanta and her denizens that keeps us guessing throughout.

Parker is not the kind of guy that we would see as heroic. He drinks a lot and hides in his own closet but I have to give him credit for taking this case when he knows what one of the results could be. He just came back to work after having taken a leave of absence for six weeks. His lover had been killed in an accident and Parker still shoulders part of the blame. He feels that if he had been there, it would not have happened. This is surely the reason that he has been drinking so heavily. He has also had problems with his police partner who is homophobic.

The stripper who had been severely beaten and murdered was the son of a wealthy local businessman. But then there was another murder and rumors that there would be a third. As the investigation ensues, everything points to a political and a mobster. The press is carefully following the case and the police co-workers are not easy to work with. Yet even with the minuses, Parker makes new contacts and he is able to reconnect with a friend.

Let me say right here that there is nothing romantic here and this is just a murder mystery. If a romance does develop, it will have to happen in a sequel. I tried to guess who was guilty all the way through and could not and then something happened that I did not expect. The characters are well drawn and I really believe that they propel the story and of course, it helps that the book is so well written.


One thought on ““Pretty Boy Dead: A Kendall Parker Mystery” by Jon Michaelsen— Staying In or Coming Out?

  1. bi-david

    I read the book and have to completely agree with this review. Also, as a retired police officer with 29 years experience in a large American city, I RARELY read mysteries because most authors of this genre don’t do research on police procedure. Rather, they rely on TV and movies which is 95% false in my opinion. Not the case with this story. Well written. Not quite a Pulitzer winner, yet better than one or two Pulitzer winners I’ve read. Go ahead and read it; you’ll be glad you did.


Comments are closed.