Title: The Queer and the Restless (A Queers of La Vista Novel)
Author: Kris Ripper
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 238 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Mystery
At a Glance: This is a series any LGBTQ+ murder mystery fan doesn’t want to miss!
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: Ed Masiello has been on testosterone for a year, is working his dream job as a reporter, and is finally passing as a man (so long as you don’t ask his abuela). But the investigation of a murder case is starting to take over his life. Afraid he’s becoming obsessed, he goes to the local club to relax, and meets the flighty, whimsical Alisha.
Alisha is a free spirit who’s tossed aside ambition for travel and adventure. Her approach to life is a far cry from Ed’s, and while Ed has always assumed that meeting his goals would make him happy, Alisha is much more content than him—despite all the plans she can’t yet fulfill.
As their relationship heats up, so does the murder case. Alisha thinks Ed needs a break, but someone’s got to find this killer, and he wants to be there when it all goes down. Besides, taking off into the great unknown with Alisha is crazy. But opting for what’s safe is just another way of living in fear, and Ed vowed to stop living like that a long time ago.
Review: This series takes place in the town of La Vista, where a string of murders have been occurring around the new local gay club. A harbor with a balmy climate, La Vista has liberal attitudes and a strong Latino population. I want to say it’s a fictional city, but I wasn’t paying much attention. Each book in the series tackles a different member of this LGBTQ club, so in one book you’ll have a lesbian protagonist, in another a bisexual protagonist, and so on. There are even books with BDSM and ménage à trois elements. The Queer and the Restless has a transman protagonist. I started the Queers of La Vista murder mystery series with this book, but in retrospect I wish I’d started at book one, Gays of our Lives.
The Queer and the Restless doesn’t really work as a standalone for one important reason—it’s a murder mystery, and by the end of the book the murder isn’t solved. From what I can tell, the series is set up so that in the first book the first murder occurs, and each book has more people being offed. The series is still going, which means the murder isn’t solved by the end of book three.
There is also a healthy dose of romance, but I wouldn’t label this a Romance. From scanning some of the reviews, I think my gut instinct is correct. Most of the Romance-lovers didn’t feel ‘the magic’ (that chemistry you’re supposed to feel when you read a Romance). For me the chemistry between the main characters was fine, and the character development was adequate, but I can see how they wouldn’t think the story was all hearts and squishes.
I was more interested in the mystery elements, which had a good level of suspense and detective work…but which also weren’t solved. However, while I admittedly had a WTF moment after I finished the book, I didn’t take those frustrations out on the rating. I did my own detective work and figured out what was going on with the series, because I’m that kinda guy.
I want to give thanks to Ripper for writing a full LGBTQ spectrum cast. I look forward to experiencing the rainbow by going back and reading the first two books, and then finishing the series. And if that isn’t a solid recommendation, I don’t know what is.
You can buy The Queer and the Restless here: