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A Body in a Bathhouse By Brad Shreve: Review/Giveaway/Interview

IN THE June 13 ISSUE

FROM THE 2020 Articles,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTales of Diversity
SECTIONS

by Lorie Lewis Ham

This month we are featuring some mysteries written by LGBTQ+ authors in honor of Pride, this one is a debut mystery that I very recently discovered written by Brad Shreve. We also have an interview with Brad. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a signed copy of A Body in A Bathhouse and a link to order it from Amazon.

A Body in the Bathhouse by Brad Shreve
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Private detective Mitch O’Reilly is struggling to get clients so that he can pay the bills. He also runs a spy store called Eye Spy Supply in a mostly abandoned strip mall in Los Angeles. That isn’t going well either. The only time he seems to make a sale is when his sister Josie fills in for him when he’s off on a case. He is behind on the rent for his shop and practically living off cereal to survive.

Mitch feels like his luck might be changing when a famous comedy scriptwriter named Victor Verboom is murdered at a local bathhouse and he is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian Ernesto. The lawyer who hires him, Eve, is a very rude and bigoted woman, but he has to put up with her because he is desperate for money. As Mitch investigates, he learns that even though most people seemed to love Victor, he had definitely made enemies and had more than a few secrets.

A former soldier, Mitch has his share of PTSD from serving in Afghanistan. He is also hesitant to get into a relationship and prefers one night stands without any commitment. This resolve is challenged when bathhouse operator Trent Nakos starts getting closer than Mitch would like, especially since a part of him would like it very much.

Suspects include Victor’s husband Warren who he was having problems with, his myriad of lovers including Ernesto who swears Victor was going to leave Warren to be with him, his brother in law who is hiding a secret of his own, and maybe even his daughter and her annoying fiancé Kelvin. When someone begins threatening not only Mitch’s life, but also that of his sister, he has to decide if it is worth the risk to find the killer.

This book was a fast read filled with twists and turns and edge of your seat action, and a well-plotted mystery. Mitch is at times brooding and lonely, but he also has a fun sense of humor and a great heart. Josie is a lot of fun and keeps bugging Mitch to start dating again. Trent is adorable and the pair have a lot of chemistry whether Mitch wants to admit it or not. Be aware that this is not a cozy and does have sex and some strong language.

I love these characters and am excited that book two just came out-watch for a review here in KRL in the future. Being Pride month, we were looking to feature an LGBTQ author that we hadn’t covered before and I am so glad I stumbled across A Body in A Bathhouse.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

Interview With Brad Shreve:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Brad: My first answer, which is probably the most common, is I’ve been writing as long as I remember. As a kid I drew picture books and comic strips and over time there were less pictures and more words.

My first novel took me almost ten years to write. That manuscript spent much of its time in a drawer, though. I was learning as I went along and struggled with many changes along the way. In the end, I’m pleased with the outcome.

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you please tell us a little about it?

Brad: A Body in a Bathhouse released in March 2019. The name was the first thing to come to me. I debated it for ages because I didn’t want people to think it is an erotic novel, but believing the setting was ideal for a murder, I had to go with it.

Mitch O’Reilly is the protagonist and reluctant PI. He returned from a tour in Afghanistan with little more than PTSD. A family member got him a job with a detective agency where he earned his private investigator license. After several years he left to open his own spy supply store. As it says in the novel, “He doesn’t earn enough from the store to stop being a PI and he doesn’t earn enough as a PI to close the store.”

Brad Shreve

A respected television scriptwriter is murdered while in a gay men’s bathhouse. Mitch is hired by an ambulance chasing attorney to solve the case which takes him from multi-million-dollar homes in the Hollywood Hills to sketchy, low income communities. The list of suspects is diverse.

Because of the enclosed environment of the bathhouse, it could have been written as a cozy, but I wanted to expand beyond the confines of that subgenre. Mitch is snarky, which leads to a good deal of humor as well.

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense, and if not what else have you written?

Brad: Although I have always read mysteries, starting with Encyclopedia Brown stories when I was a child, I was enamored with the Doonesbury comic strip. I made attempts at my own comic strip which eventually led to satirical writing. I found I was better at reading satire than writing it and shelved the idea of being a writer. Once I made the decision to start writing again, I didn’t give any thought of writing anything other than mystery.

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your book/series?

Brad: As I said, the title A Body in a Bathhouse hit me first out of the blue and I loved the idea of a murder scene in that environment. My novels take place in Los Angeles. It’s not my hometown, but the rich diversity of the city made it the perfect location for a variety of characters and settings.

It’s always hard to say where your characters come from because they are usually bits and pieces of many people. A combination of a male best friend and an older woman you meet at Starbucks. It is safe to say, however, Mitch is very much a part of me. He’s as cynical as I am but he has the luxury of saying what he thinks.

While my novels are not love stories, Mitch does have a love interest who is playful, fun-loving and laughs a lot. He is more the me I want to be.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?

Brad: I write to entertain. Many people have referred to my novel as a good beach read and that thrills me. Knowing I have a gift to take a person away from real world problems for a few hours fills me with joy.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?

Brad: Some may find this surprising because I am a slow writer, but I have the luxury of writing full time. I set aside six hours daily to devote to writing. I’m not always successful at keeping my butt in my seat that long, but that is my goal. I choose to write four or five days each week. I spend the weekends with my husband.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Brad: I plot my novels in great detail. I’m impressed by anyone who can write by the seat of their pants, but it’s just not for me. I need a detailed outline to remind me where to place clues and red herrings and to ensure each suspect gets equal time. At the end, my novel may look much different than what I outlined, but I need that outline to get out of the starting gate.

KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?

Brad: I think my best writing time would be the middle of the night. In the neighborhood of 2:00 am – 4:00 am. I’ve tried this and the real world doesn’t make it easy. I find I’m up during the day taking care of other matters, rather than sleeping, so I end up tired all the time.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Brad: When I knew it was time to start looking for a publisher, I asked around. I talked with authors who have gone with traditional publishers, those who self-publish, and many who have been traditionally published and were switching to self-publishing. Based on feedback from many authors, the decision to self-publish was an easy one. I couldn’t see anything a traditional publisher had to offer me other than taking a large percentage of my royalties. It is an option I’ll keep open down the road, but I am happy with my decision for now.

KRL: Future writing goals?

Brad: I have a second Mitch O’Reilly novel that published in early June titled A Body on the Hill and I’m outlining the third in the series. Off the top of my head, five seems to be the magic number for Mitch, but there’s no way to really know. I could surprise myself and end up with twenty Mitch novels.

I do have standalone novel that’s been half finished sitting on my hard drive for some time. It’s a human trafficking story that was exciting to write but I was more drawn to writing a second Mitch O’Reilly mystery. I hope to get back to it someday.

I have another series that’s in the works about a Los Angeles gay detective in the 1920s. It was an exciting time for LA and a time when being exposed as a homosexual could land you in jail or an institution. The story is full of possibilities and I’ve been doing extensive research between writing spells.

KRL: Ooh that sounds interesting. Writing heroes?

Brad: While there are many to choose from, such as Sue Grafton, Gregory Mcdonald and Robert B. Parker, hands down my favorite author is Lawrence Block. I appreciate Block’s ability successfully write both the hilarious Burglar series and the dark, brooding Matthew Scudder series.

In my opinion, Block’s Burglar series has terrible mysteries that are nearly impossible to solve, but his fun and quirky characters are worth every word. On the other side of the coin, his Matthew Scudder series is darker and can affect one deeply. I strive to learn from each side of Block’s writing styles and adapt both skills into each novel.

KRL: What do you read?

Brad: I’m terrible because I know I should read from many genres. There’s an abundance of incredible writers out there, but I almost exclusively read other mysteries. To be more specific, mysteries by other LGBTQ authors.

KRL: Favorite TV or movies?

Brad: I’m not a fan of television. I got wrapped up in St. Elsewhere years ago and swore I would never become addicted to a show that forces me to watch it every week. When I do watch TV, I will watch silly old sitcoms so I can see an episode and not have to worry about getting around to it again.

My movie taste is diverse. My favorites include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Blazing Saddles, What’s up Doc? and Pulp Fiction. I’ll even admit I’m a huge fan of Deadpool.

KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Brad: Don’t worry about selling your first novel by trying to write to the market. It’s important to have a passion for what you do and that’s not easy when you make it a business. Focus on what you want to write and keep writing. Write every day, even if you can only get one sentence out. With time, as you develop your skill you can balance writing what you desire and making it saleable.

My other advice is to never stop reading. Read as much as you write.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Brad: My passion for LGBTQ mysteries compelled me to start a podcast last year. Each week I interview an author of LGBTQ mysteries, suspense, and thrillers on the Gay Mystery Podcast. (KRL is interviewing Brad about his podcast is a couple of weeks)

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Brad: I don’t consider myself to be a good writer. I see myself as a great storyteller. In school, graphing sentences and learning structure was too much like math and I loathe math. I’m grateful for editors and proofreaders.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?

Brad: My website, where people can contact me or sign up for my newsletter is www.bradshreve.com.

My Facebook page is Brad Shreve. I have an author page and a group, but I prefer people follow me on my personal page where I interact more.

I’m @bradshreve on Twitter, though you won’t find me there very often. Twitter can be an ugly place.

My Instagram name is also @bradshreve

To enter to win a signed copy of A Body in A Bathhouse, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bathhouse,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 20, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dianne Casey June 14, 2020 at 4:14pm

Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading.
diannekc8,(at)gmail(dot)com

Reply

2 Teresa Warner June 15, 2020 at 9:32am

New author for me and love reading mysteries. Sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

Reply

3 Mary Holshouser June 16, 2020 at 8:53am

Mitch sounds like an interesting
person (love the snark). Could
be the start of a great series.
thanks.
txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

Reply

4 Lorie
Twitter: @myteryrat
June 29, 2020 at 6:53pm

We have a winner!

Reply

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