2016 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery — Shortlisted
Dan Sharp scours Toronto’s seamy underbelly after the murder of a notorious nightspot owner, and finds his own life on the line.
When Yuri Malevski, owner of notorious country-and-western bar The Saddle and Bridle, is found dead in his Parkdale mansion, missing-persons investigator Dan Sharp is reluctant to interfere in what he sees as police business. At first, Malevski’s sleazy lifestyle and shady associates make the murder look like an open-and-shut case, but Dan reconsiders after being approached by a couple who say Malevski was killed by cops over protection money.
When vulnerable people who had frequented the dead man’s bar begin to disappear, Dan feels compelled to jump in feet first. Following a lead, his investigation takes him into the heart of Toronto’s gay community, where he confronts its down-and-outs — transients, drug dealers, and con artists — and soon finds his own life threatened as his search brings him closer to a killer.
Jeffrey Round’s first Dan Sharp mystery, Lake on the Mountain, won the Lambda Literary Award in 2013. It was followed by Pumpkin Eater in 2014. Jeffrey’s first two novels, A Cage of Bones and The P’town Murders, were listed on AfterElton’s Top 100 Gay Books. His blog, A Writer’s Half-Life, has been syndicated online. He lives in Toronto.
After the Horses is a slick, intelligent mystery that also allows time for characters and settings to breathe deeply. In this fourth Dan Sharp mystery Jeffrey Round proves once again that he is a master of detail. His skillful narration and dialogue insist the reader be present, as Dan follows a tortuous trail of clues through Toronto neighbourhoods and beyond. Whether Dan is conversing with his son, fighting an attacker, or battling his personal demons, Round manages to infuse each page with deep humanity.
Best of the series so far
Like all the volumes in this series, this is a solidly plotted, suspenseful mystery with appeal to anyone who enjoys PI novels.
[Jeffrey Round’s novels] not only give gay readers increasing representation in the world of crime fiction, but offer straight ones a reasonably complex glimpse of a community they’ll likely find isn’t especially different from theirs — except, presumably, for the murderous parts.