by Matt Lubbers-Moore
Roughly fifteen years ago, I discovered Mahu by Neil Plakcy. I was lucky in those days. I was able to wander into my local Barnes and Noble and they had a huge assortment of LGBTQ novels and nonfiction books segregated in their own section. It was in that section that I found books by Michael Nava, Richard Zubro, Joseph Hansen, and Neil Plakcy. Kimo Kanapa’aka, a detective with the Honolulu Police Force, is closeted at the beginning of the first book but is forced out of the closet when he stumbles upon a dead body outside of a gay bar and needs to come forward about what he was doing in the area. He has a tight-knit family who rally around him, and throughout the twelve books he meets and marries Mike, a fire investigator, donates sperm to lesbian friends who have twins, and continues to be the moral and ethical police detective working with both the FBI and the Honolulu Police Force.
When I first read Mahu, I was thrilled for there to be another gay mystery in the genre. At the time I didn’t know of too many, but when I Googled gay mysteries, Neil Plakcy’s website came up with his own list of gay mysteries that he knew about. His bibliography of gay mysteries was the first I discovered, and it proved fruitful for my growing gay mystery library. Through him, I discovered Drewey Wayne Gunn and Anthony Slide’s bibliographies and the encouragement to write my own. I owe Neil Plakcy a great deal for getting my started on this wonderfully amazing path.
He has been incredibly prolific, as of late, with the latest Golden Retriever Mystery Dog’s Honest Truth (watch for a review of this one) out May 15, Mahu’s Unruly Son out June 1, and Have Body, Will Guard’s The Feet of Blue Pigeons out July 1; not to mention his short story in the Cupid Shot Me anthology that came out earlier this year! If you haven’t read Neil Plakcy yet, then I strongly encourage you to do so!
Unruly Son by Neil Plakcy
Out June 1, 2022 (I missed this last month)
A mother and her neurodiverse teenaged son are missing in one of the parks surrounding Honolulu, and homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka must use his knowledge of the landscape, and of human nature, to tackle this case, with more twists and turns than a mountain trail. Pressure mounts from civic and tourism leaders as well as the news media. Kimo must confront old adversaries as he negotiates tricky questions. What does it mean to be a parent? How can you protect your children while at same time preparing them to be free someday?
The Feet of Blue Pigeons by Neil Plakcy
Out July 1, 2022
During a break in the pandemic, Aidan Greene gets a panicked message from an old college friend living in Luxembourg. Ethan Katz is a banking exec in Luxembourg for a bank owned by a family from the UAE. He’s discovered a money-laundering scheme which puts his life in danger and local security can’t help him because they are stretched thin from the pandemic. Can Aidan and Liam help protect him? They haven’t worked much since the onset of Covid-19, so they welcome the chance to earn some money, and help an old friend. But when everyone around them is wearing masks, it’s hard for Aidan and Liam to discern real threats.
Stone’s Homefront by Adrian J. Smith
Out July 1, 2022, Supposed Crimes
A bomb at a factory. A new case. Morgan will do anything to stop her world from spinning out of control. With Mr. Jimmy’s case still on her plate, Agent Morgan Stone isn’t sure she wants to take on a second. Focusing on Jimmy’s young victims, she has little interest in a bomb that goes off in Chicago. With an end to restricted duty in sight after last winter, Morgan finds herself thrust into a new case she doesn’t want.
Early Graves by Joseph Hansen
Out July 12, 2022 (no cover)
Dave Brandstetter’s afternoon does not begin well. His ex-boyfriend picks him up at the airport, and the ride home, in bumper-to-bumper Los Angeles traffic, is one long argument between them. The insurance investigator’s day gets worse when he finds a man—bloody, rain-soaked, and ice cold—lying on his porch, killed by a stab wound while Dave was out of town. There is a serial killer loose in Los Angeles, and this man is his sixth victim. Like the others, he had already been marked for death by the unforgiving plague known as AIDS. Someone is targeting sick men in the city, and Dave’s search for the killer leads him into the dark side of gay Los Angeles, where death comes without warning and life is a fearful dream. This is the ninth of twelve Brandstetter titles being rereleased by Soho Crime.
Hunting Gold by Ann Aptaker
Out July 12, 2022, Bywater Books
A golden city of prosperity, energy, the exciting engine of the American Dream. Just underneath, though, is a dark city, with darker ambitions. This is the world of Cantor Gold, dapper art thief and smuggler, who has her own way of securing the rewards of the American Dream. In the conformist 1950s, when same-sex romance was illegal, Cantor decides that any Law that condemns her as a criminal just for her love of women is not a Law she owes any allegiance to. As an outlaw, she thrives earning fistfuls of cash and living life on her own terms. But someone wants to take it all away. Someone wants to rob Cantor of everything: her success in the underworld, her freedom, her life. Predators are out to destroy Cantor: the cops who violently raid the Green Door Club, Cantor’s favorite watering hole, where the lights are low and the women are willing; and worse, an unknown predator who threatens to destroy Cantor’s life, even destroy the lives of people close to her.
The Child Riddler by Angela Greenman
Out July 19, 2022, Bella Books
Despite the angry scars she carries from her childhood training, Zoe Lorel has reached a good place in her life. She has her dream job as an elite operative in an international spy agency, and she’s found her one true love. Her world is mostly perfect—until she is sent to abduct a nine-year-old girl. The girl is the only one who knows the riddle that holds the code to unleash the most lethal weapon on earth: the first ever “invisibility” nanoweapon, a cloaking spider bot. But Zoe’s agency isn’t the only one after the child.
Timber Falls by Gerri Hill
Out July 19, 2022, Bella Books
Haley Martin owns the Timber Falls Bar and Grill. Carter, a disgraced LAPD detective, was offered an out—a position on a team of unorthodox FBI agents. After a month of training, she is sent out on her own without a team or a partner. When the gruesome murder of a college student—a river rat—sends the FBI agent to Timber Falls, she knows she’s looking for a serial killer that’s preying on tourists.
Seeing Strangers by Sebastian J Plata
Out July 26, 2022, Agora Books
Life is going well for Greg Kelly. He’s married to the handsome and kind Cristian, a Spanish-born artist who is also a talented cook. Greg’s work as a translator for an IT startup allows them to live comfortably in a stylish Bushwick two bedroom and enjoy just about all NYC has to offer—including sleeping with other men, since Greg and Cristian’s marriage has been open for the past few years. Now approaching their mid-thirties, fatherhood calls and they enlist a friend to act as surrogate. In order to focus on building a family, Greg and Cristian decide to close up the marriage when the baby arrives. Greg has the summer for one last hurrah. But a spurned hook-up reappears and won’t go away, infiltrating himself into Greg’s life, threatening his marriage and sanity.
The Verifiers by Jane Pek
Out July 27, 2022, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Claudia is used to disregarding her fractious family’s model-minority expectations. She has no interest in finding either a conventional career or a nice Chinese boy. She’s also used to keeping secrets from them, such as she prefers girls and that she’s just been stealth-recruited by Veracity, a referrals-only online-dating detective agency. A lifelong mystery reader who wrote her senior thesis on Jane Austen, Claudia believes she’s landed her ideal job. But when a client vanishes, Claudia breaks protocol to investigate and uncovers a maelstrom of personal and corporate deceit.
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 goes up next week.
In honor of Pride month, our most recent podcast episode features an LGBTQ main character and author. You can find it by clicking here or listen on the player below. We have also featured many of Neil Plakcy’s stories on our podcast.
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