Authors: David C. Dawson
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: For when you’re in the mood for a gay Mystery/Thriller, but you don’t want the romance.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: `A young journalism student lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Brighton, England. His life hangs in the balance after a drug overdose. But was it attempted suicide or attempted murder? The student’s mother persuades British lawyer Dominic Delingpole to investigate, and Dominic enlists the aid of his outspoken opera singer partner, Jonathan McFadden.
The student’s boyfriend discovers compromising photographs hidden in his lover’s room. The photographs not only feature senior politicians and business chiefs, but the young journalist himself. Is he being blackmailed, or is he the blackmailer?
As Dominic and Jonathan investigate further, their lives are threatened and three people are murdered. They uncover a conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of government and powerful corporations. The people behind it are ruthless, and no one can be trusted. The bond between Dominic and Jonathan deepens as they struggle not only for answers, but for their very survival.
Review: Mystery/Thriller is my favorite genre, especially when it’s LGBTQ+, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in this story. The writing was technically fine, but the structure of the plot wasn’t my favorite. That being said, not everyone is going to have the same opinion, and I did enjoy the secondary characters; they were fun and a breath of fresh air.
Dominic, our protagonist, seemed to be your ‘every man’ character, but I found him rather stuffy. He’s a lawyer, and though he has a boyfriend, Jonathan, they are in the closet to a majority of the public. In order to cope with that, Jonathan insisted they have an open relationship. I have nothing against open relationships, but it’s clear Dominic isn’t comfortable with the arrangement, and he’s not comfortable with being out. The resentment he harbors colors his character unfavorably, and by the end, I felt there wasn’t enough development to justify how big of a piece that played in the story.
Jonathan was entertaining: fun, loud, loving, and open. But at times it did feel as if he was rubbing his attraction to other men in Dominic’s face. Part of me felt he did this because he was trying to get Dominic to come out of his shell, and I sincerely hoped Dominic would take the hint and loosen up, but I’m not certain that’s how it all worked out. Most of Jonathan’s antics simply made he and Dominic seem like a horrible match for each other, and I didn’t at all buy their kiss-and-make-up moments.
One of the great parts of this book was actually Simon, the journalism student in a coma. Discovering what Simon had been up to before the attempt on his life was by far the most enjoyable part of this book for me. First Dominic gets a story of who Simon is and what his motivations were from his mother, which differs greatly from the story he then gets from Simon’s friends. As Dominic is piecing Simon’s life together, new details paint an even more grim and befuddling picture than the first hints. Simon had obviously stumbled onto something insidious, and because of Dominic’s inquiries, Dominic’s life then becomes threatened as well. Dominic finds himself taking up the mantle of investigation in a brilliant fashion, and if the story had been more focused on pulling Simon’s life apart like an onion, I would have been over the moon.
The many viewpoints bogged down the story, and of all of them, the antagonist’s viewpoint was especially tedious. Halfway through the book there was a plot twist concerning the antagonist’s viewpoint that I won’t discuss in detail, but if I hadn’t been required to read the rest of the story in order to write a review, I probably would have put the book down. It wasn’t believable, and it cheapened the story by making the antagonist into too much of a James Bond villain. By the end, the tone was completely thrown off.
This wasn’t a complete win for me, but there were a few good parts. I would read another of the author’s works.
You can buy The Necessary Deaths here: