Who Dat Whodunnit – Greg Herren (Bold Strokes Books)

Buy it now direct from Bold Strokes Books.

I’ve never understood some people’s passion for football. I
watch them paint their faces and turn cars over in celebration of big
victories—a charming custom if I’ve ever seen one—with bemused disinterest.
Unless it’s my Mazda they’re upending. But New Orleans is one of my
favorite places in the world, and I was more than a little interested in the
Saints’ Super Bowl win. Not enough to watch a game, of course, but you know
what I mean. Leave it to Greg Herren to turn that success into a Scotty Bradley
mystery.

The big game is not the focus, though. The mystery is who
killed homophobic right-wing beauty pageant queen Tara Bourgeois (as well as a
conservative Christian minister) with Scotty’s mother’s gun. Scotty and his
boyfriends Frank and Colin explore the possibilities along with the Ninja
Lesbians, riding through the twists and turns until the culprit is in hand.

Once again, Herren proves himself to be one of the best
mystery writers publishing today, stirring together great characters (his
cousin Jared in particular), deft plotting and dashes of his dry wit into a
gutsy gumbo that goes down mighty easy. He knows full well that the key to a
successful mystery is balancing those ingredients, never letting one overpower
the other. His material is never so reliant on plot that he lets character go,
nor is it so concerned with character minutiae that it loses sight of what’s
happening. And he always has his tongue firmly in his cheek.

But in addition to these ingredients, this time he’s stirred
in a healthy dose of diatribe against bigotry and intolerance. That’s not to
say that it tilts the mix towards shrill screed-screaming, but his statements
are firm and you know where his characters stand, especially Scotty’s mother—an
enormously opinionated firebrand who steals every scene she’s in. I’d love to
see more of her. Greg Herren has done it once again, turning two front-page
issues—right-wing Christian conservatism and a Saints Super Bowl victory—into a
winning mystery.

And not an overturned car in sight.

Review by Jerry Wheeler

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