Pretty Boy Dead

Kendall Parker Mystery
Narrated by: F.C. McAllister
Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the vicious crime while remaining safely hidden behind the closet door? 

When the body of a young man is found in a popular midtown park, police and local media are quick to pin the brutal killing on a homeless gay kid with AIDS. But homicide detective Sgt. Kendall Parker isn't so convinced, even when the suspect is accused of assaulting another police detective with a deadly weapon. 

City leaders want the murder solved yesterday and jump at the chance to pin the crime on the drug-craving teen. It's an election year, so remaining in office is their top priority, even at the sacrifice of the young man. Sgt. Parker isn't so persuaded and is determined to prove Hopper's innocence, despite the protest of his colleagues and its threat to the deep secret Parker has carefully hidden from his comrades for years.

©2013 Jon Michaelsen (P)2018 Lethe Press
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A solid, good story

Okay, I read this book a while ago, and I didn't like it, not really. But I decided to give it a try as an audiobook, and... well... now, I do like it.

And yes, part of it might be F.C. McAllister's narration, but that wasn't all. I think I probably wasn't in the mood to appreciate this story that first time around.

This is a bitter story, full of bad, ugly people. It was hard for me to like the characters, even the protagonist at times. It took me A LOT to warm to Kendall.

There is so much corruption and hate going on through all the book... The story is very well researched and that is evident. But there is a terrifying homophobic sense to it. The police depatment, his boss, even his partner are really homophobic and everybody is throwing slurs all the time. TBH, the story felt more set in the 80s than the 2010s, particularly with the important part that AIDS plays into some of the events.

And I still didn't enjoy the dialogues. But the thing is, this time around I really enjoyed the story itself.

Yes, it's gritty and dark, and very difficult at times. But it is a good story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping Novel

Loved it. Could not put it down. Well written, the plot's twists and turns were unexpected and clever.

1 person found this helpful

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It became a hate read

After I spent some time with his story, I decided to learn about the author and his history as a writer. I found out that this is his first book available to the public. That fact answers a lot of questions.

The book starts out as a fairly interesting addition to the detective genre. Its first several chapters move along setting a stage and introducing some compelling plot points.

In his acknowledgments, the author named check several members of law enforcement who provided technical assistance in the writing of the book. I am left to wonder how much of their help he didn't utilize.

There came a time when I stopped the play back and wondered aloud, Does this guy know how a modern police station works? I do. Does this guy know how a modern hospital works? And so on.

The farther the story moved away from the original crime, its precursors, and its immediate investigation, the more unsteady the writing became.

The author is at his worst when creating basic human to human conversations about things that don't involve crime. Nothing original is brought to the story. His characters in these circumstances do little else but mouth over-worn, tired cliches. Often, the emotionality he attributes to his characters seem to have come out of nowhere. It was as if at certain points he decided a scene called for an emotional outburst so one was just created without a lead-in or a build-up.

After one-third of the way in, I decided to continue to the end of the story as a hate listen. It didn't disappoint.

I think it's an inventive premise for a story. And I wonder if maybe this were his 10th novel and not his first, and if he had a better editorial staff directing him, this would be a much better book.

I'm returning this book.

5 people found this helpful

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A complex, interesting take on a closeted, gay detective.

This novel covers a lot of ground. A closeted Sargent of Detective finds himself in a case that includes gay clubs, political corruption, homophobia, and murder a few weeks after the death of his lover. It’s an ambitious story that succeeds on many levels without using crutches common in novels in the male to male genre. Highly recommended!

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  • Michael Wild
  • 04-19-20

The audio doesn't match the book

The audio must be a reading from an earlier edition. There are changes to every page that don't match, whole passages on most pages are changed. Therefore, while the reading is good, and the story is good, the combined experience is so 'not good'.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Thais Dematte
  • 03-09-20

The mystery was solved in the first 4 chapters

I have a had time finishing this book. Although I like it, I have some issues with the way the mystery was presented to us. There is a lot of POVs in this story, from the bad guys, the journalist, the detective, the victim and some others.

The first 4 chapters show us the victim, the killer, the journalist and some witnesses. In these 4 chapters, you know who is dead, how he was killed, who killed and half the motive. In the fifth chapter, you get to know the detective Kendall.

You see, the reader knows basically the whole mystery in the first few chapters. So the rest of the book we get to follow Kendall and his partner trying to solve the case. I'm conflicted about this plot device. Although I think it was clever, 'cause this way we could focus on the police procedures and see their struggle trying to find the killer. In the other hand, we know the mystery and we're just waiting for the detectives catch up to us, so it got a little boring at times.

I know the narrator by his other pen name, the one he uses for romances, so I was familiar with his voice. He did an awesome job, I love his voice and his accent. But what I most like about him is his way of show the emotions and create different voices for different characters. His pace is a little on the slow side, but I always speed up and it's perfect. He does the pauses in the right places and doesn't rush the narration, which I appreciate.

This audiobook was given to me and no review was expected of me.