Bixley, George. “That First Heady Burn”, (The Slater Ibanez Books Book 1), Dagmar Miura, 2018.
Beginning a New Series
Dagmar Miura is a small publishing house that never disappoints and has now launched a new series that introduces us to Slater Ibanez, a gay freelance investigator. He defines himself by the men in his life that fall into two categories—the guys he wants to punch and the guys he wants to have sex with. Slater roams the dark side of Los Angeles, looking for and rooting out insurance fraud and he does whatever he has to do to get things done and this includes physical violence. We might say that he is “a queer antihero for a new age”. He sits somewhere on the line between ordinary life and the fringes of society that are fraying now. His employer, Della, throws him occasional jobs and he is supported by Conrad, a cop and his ex-boyfriend.
He is on his first case that he shares with us here. It involves running surveillance on an injured tech worker and as he does, he learns that in the worker’s company and he wants to know how the company makes money when no one works for them and why the head of the company is able to spend so much time at the border. Slater questions why this tech company employs so much security.
It does not take long before Slater finds himself in a strange milieu that is filled with party girl who provide late night hookups, blackmailers, all kinds of men and lots of booze. Slater knows that he will have to use his wits as well as physical combat to get to the bottom of the case.
He has friends who think highly of him but he cannot show emotion. He knows who and what he is and he is content with that. We really do not get to know him well here (but I understand that this will change in upcoming books). Slater is above all a man and quite a sexy one at that. He is also arrogant and self-destructive. Writer Bixley writes with wonderful detail and he makes sure we know the physicality of the story because it is important as a place of focus and to understand what is going on, it is advantageous to get a mental picture. Because of the nature of the story, I cannot say anymore about the plot. What I can say is that the characters are well drawn, the prose is lovely and the plot will keep you reading. Mystery buffs will have a great time with his book just as will the rest of us.