For quite some time, I’d been after a Mystery book or series that was well-written, from the standpoint of a gay lead character. As a gay man myself, writer and self-avowed mystery reader for decades, there are only so many male-female lead character driven drivel I can read. You don’t know the thousands of mysteries, good, bad and otherwise, I’ve read with all straight characters.
Male detectives with what I call OTTT: Over The Top Testosterone, blistering, bulging muscles, 2 brain cells, one to follow the mystery and the other to placate/oogle the lead female. Let’s talk about female lead detectives for a bit. They are either young, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants smartasses, little old ladies with deception written on their wrinkly old faces, or hardass, hard bitten, lead-in-the-veins hard-boiled detectives in a crime ridden city.
Once in a while, I want something vastly different. Surely, in the thousands and thousands of mysteries written each month, there is a decent detective mystery book or series with a gay lead or leads? Most of the mysteries with gay leads (I hate the term “Gay Mystery”, it isn’t) have graphic sex scenes, a stereotype or two (prissy male leads, over the top drag queens, diesel dykes wearing hubcaps for belt buckles, etc) or the storyline is so short it’s not worth recommending. I was desperate for some light in the dark.
Enter R.D. Zimmerman and his Todd Mills Mysteries. I was suspicious, having been duped before, but seeing the awards he’s won, I gave it a shot. Boy am I glad I did! Zimmerman creates great characters, fully three dimensional with personality and flaws, that are easily seen throughout the series. To be fair, I’ve read 3 of the 5 books so far and can wholeheartedly recommend them. Since they are a couple (TV anchor/detective and Policeman/detective) they do have sex but it is ‘behind closed doors’, not beaten over your head with two billyclubs. That’s what I loved: you are told they are in love but not shown. I’m all for man on man sex, but there is time and place for it.
The storylines could be ripped from today’s headlines, Zimmerman carefully crafts each book’s premise, so you can see it happening in the back of your mind. Side characters are introduced at the right time, they have their time and place as well; written fully dimensional to boot. Zimmerman balances his storylines to make a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I easily give 4.5 stars!