Grey, Dorien. “The Good Cop: A Dick Hardesty Mystery”, narrated by Jeff Frez-Alberecht, Unabridged Audiobook, 2015.
A Dead Gay Policeman
There is something about a man in uniform but we really like them to be alive. When a gay policeman is murdered, the investigation is given to Dick Hardesty. While I am not much of a mystery reader, I love Dorien Grey’s Dick Hardesty series and both Grey and Hardesty are two people I consider as my friends even though one is fictional and the other I have never met. I did not read the books in “order”—this is he 5th in the Dick Hardesty series and it goes back in time a but to show us how something about Dick in college and then we learn how he met his partner so that should tell you that reading the books, one after, does not really matter.
Basically the plot is about how Dick and Tom who had been Hardesty’s from college, are reunited and become close friends again. It is also about Jonathan, a 19-year-old boy from a poor family, tries to work as a professional male hustler but who is being treated badly by his very first client. Dick helped him out and he falls for the detective. A policeman was murdered and both the gay community and the police department become more and more deeply involved in the case. Additionally there was arson and the gay community was blamed. Then there was the sexual assault on Jonathan by one of the rich and famous men in America. Because Dick Hardesty is gay, he becomes the link between the two communities and is very useful to the case. He works directly with the police chief, Lieutenant Mark Richman and Captain Offerman.
But let’s go back to the beginning for a bit. Tom and Di ck were a couple in college but because Tom remained in the closet, the relationship did not really go anywhere after graduation. Now Tom and Dick meet again and we learn that Tm has married Lisa, a lesbian and that supposedly helps Tom reconcile his feelings for men. Dick is an open guy and the friendship with Tom is renewed.
Dick also cares for Jonathan and tries to help him get his life together after the assault. There is something of a sexual attraction between the two but Dick sees the relationship as one of friendship. Jonathan is a nice guy but a bit naïve and gets hurt easily. Dick becomes a little outdone with himself when he realizes that he is attracted to a 19-year-old boy. So by now you are asking if this is a mystery novel what happened to the crime?
I always have a difficult time reviewing mysteries because it is so easy to spoil a book for other readers by saying too much. Therefore I have made you aware that is a mystery but that is all I am going to say about. Besides it is much more fun concentrating on the characters. I will say that there is a power struggle in the police department and we see Dick being something of a mediator and trying to help keep the peace. But isn’t more fun to read about cute, young Jonathan? Dick met him at a hustler bar and was immediately enchanted by him. He knows that Jonathan is too young for him and so he decides to protect Jonathan until Jonathan volunteers to help find the murderer so Dick finds himself in a quandary as to how to react to the young man—what happens to these two is one of the easy ways of letting know that there is a sequel of some kind.
The dialogue in the book is wonderful and when Jeff Frez-Alberecht reads the story aloud, it becomes fascinating. As I find in all of Dorien Grey’s work, the writing is wonderful and the plot holds our interest throughout the story. Remember this is a review of the audio version of the book and listening to it is quite different than reading it. Audiobooks require total attention throughout—you cannot go back to a page that has been already read. On the other hand, characters really come alive as we hear them speak.