A Prayer for the Dead (Deadly Mystery #7)

in the middle of somewhere
Title: A Prayer for the Dead (Deadly Mystery #7)
Author: Victor J. Banis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 2, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Does murder follow Tom and Stanley around, or do they follow the murders?

After a hospital stay, Stanley is invited by Father Brighton to convalesce at St. Marywood, an isolated monastery on the ocean cliffs of Big Sur. Upon arrival, Stanley finds Father Brighton dead. The order’s doctor writes it up as a death by natural causes, but those seem to be quite prevalent at the monastery. The recent demise of a young brother who fell from the cliffs is described as an accident, but Stanley’s nose is twitching. Plus the order’s finances have taken a sudden, mysterious turn for the better. Is something rotten at St. Marywood?

Stanley and Tom can’t resist digging around even if it means testing their tumultuous relationship against a gaggle of handsome, young, virginal, and—they are told—gay men.

I’m a HUGE fan of the Deadly Mystery series, and when I found out that Victor J. Banis would release the book number 7 – FOUR years after the book 6! – I was thrilled to bits by this news.

Now I can tell you a little secret – I haven’t read the previous two books, because I had no idea that more books would come, and I used my Tom and Stanley resources sparingly. The good news- I read the last book of the series and I didn’t feel that I missed something. AND. I have still a bit of Tom and Stanley for myself to enjoy, in case the author will take up time for the next instalment. Because it could be the last book in the series! IT CAN’T! I have my reasons to believe it.

Those who read and enjoy Deadly Mystery knows that every book presents a solved and completed criminal case. And even if the series in the first place should be qualify as a mystery, where a criminal story is the focus of the plot, the main attraction of the series are Tom and Stanley, our unusual and meanwhile established couple, and their relationship. Victor J. Banis created something totally different comparing to all gay cop/detective couples that we know from the other books – Tom and Stanley are unique, and the series is a perfect mixture of the fast paced well-build mystery, amusing and witty writing style, refreshing main characters that one couldn’t have enough of and playful humour. It is sexy, entertaining and addicted!

The story:
When Stanley takes an invitation from Father Brighton to convalesce at St. Marywood, an isolated male monastery on the ocean cliffs of Big Sur, the very least he could expect on his arrival is to find Father Brighton lifeless in his cottage.

Even if a guardian is positive that a death caused by a heart-attack, Stanley feels something rotten in the monastery. And as we remember, Stanley’s instinct has never deceived him. Only this time it is not Tom who stands by him, but his friend Chris, who accompanies Stanley as a travelling companion, because Tom has to complete the job, and can’t come with.
So, it is why we have, for my taste, not enough of my favourite couple in A Prayer for the Dead. Even if I like Chris, and I enjoyed Stanley’s investigation within this exceptional environment – Stanley in a MALE monastery! – and totally unpredictable mystery, well, at least it was for sure until 80%, but I missed Tom. BADLY. There were some thoughts, and one conversation on phone, but he literally appeared on the page in the middle of the night at 51%! And he came not alone! No, don’t be afraid – he had a present for Chris. Suddenly we got one gay couple more. This new established couple was too unimportant to pay too much attention to, but that still took much too much attention from the main couple. So, I haven’t got enough of Tom and Stanley in the book 7 but in spite of it, I try to see it positively – Victor J. Banis is obligated to write the next sequel! Readers have to be rewarded for their patience with an extra-portion of Tom and Stanley next time.

The ending… sigh was sweet and touching, and made me happy.

Deadly Mystery Series

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ARC of A Prayer for the Dead provided by Dreamspinnerpress in exchange for an honest review.


A passionate reader from Germany. I learned to read at the age of 4 and never stopped since then, though my books from that time were very different from what they are now. English is my third language, and I’m sorry for all grammar mistakes I made in my reviews. But I assure you, that my reading English is much better than my writing English. I’m a seeker for the books that differ from mainstream, that provoke the reader or have very often very opposite ratings.


  • Thank you for your very kind review – I have no idea what the future will bring – as you no doubt know, not so long ago I thought I was done with writing altogether. But my boys will not be denied – so I am not ruling out another adventure – I promise to take your advice to heart, however.


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