Grey, Dorien. “The Hired Man: A Dick Hardesty Mystery” (Dick Hardesty Series), Dorien Grey, 2014.
Bisexuality and Dick (Hardesty)— An Audiobook
There was a time in the publishing industry when books were sacred. The new technology has made printed books to change a great deal and today, along with all of the advantages we have made in communications, books now come in different ways and many books can be bough as either a printed hard copy edition and as eBooks. We are also seeing many audio books being produced and that is the type of book I am talking about here. I have read most of Dorien Grey’s literary output and now I am able to enjoy them as they are read t me, His latest audio book is “The Hired Man” and Jeff Frez-Albrecht beautifully reads it to us. Our good friend, Dick Hardesty, P.I. has been hired to protect a gay/bisexual escort service after one of its clients is murdered. It all began rather simply. Hardesty was hired by an out-of-town businessman to do background checks on some of his potential employees. He learns that a friend of his has been seeing the businessman “professionally” on a regular basis. Phil, the friend, works from the agency.
Dick gets a referral of a businessman from out of town who is looking for an investigator to do background checks on some potential management employees. It turns out that an old friend, Phil, has been seeing the businessman on a regular basis. Phil is a professional escort and the businessman is a very closeted bi-sexual. With the businessman, a closeted bi-sexual, is murdered mysteriously, Dick is enlisted by the police and the agency to try to find out what happened. Then, Billy, one of the escorts is found dead and it just so happened that Billy and Phil shared an apartment. There was also the murder of a woman who had been stabbed to death with a knife that had been the businessman’s and was stolen during his murder. And there is more—the owners of the escort service and a couple and one of the escorts is one of the owner’s brothers but really turns out to be her son. Suddenly everyone who works for the agency is suspect and/or potential murder victims.
This is probably the longest of the Dick Hardesty series but then we have quite a large cast of characters. It is also unique in that it uses bisexuality as one of its themes and we do not really get many novels about it. One of the things I really like about Grey’s writing is his ability to write great descriptions and to inject humor into the dialogues of his characters. He also captures Dick Hardesty as a human with sex drives like all of us and we read about the affairs he has with several of the escorts as he questions them. Sure, this is not professional behavior but it is fun to read about and while the sex scenes could be very erotic, Grey keeps them literary so as not to detract from the plot. (I suppose it is also an intimate way of checking someone’s honesty—how much can a naked man lie?).
The reading is excellent—Jeff Frez-Albrecht has a wonderful voice and his inflection makes the story sound as real and possible. There are twists and turns throughout but Hardesty is determined to solve the case and the last scene is wonderfully rendered both orally and on the page.