Title: Death Goes Overboard (A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery #2)
Author: David S. Pedersen
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Genre(s): Historical, Murder/Mystery
Page Count: 198
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 1.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Gregor Slavinsky went overboard. Or did he? He was murdered. Or was he? It’s up to Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, police officer Alan Keyes, to find out as they search for clues and a missing twenty-five thousand dollars aboard an old lake steamer and throughout 1947 Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
They are up against gangsters, con artists, and a very seductive Grant Riker, a fellow policeman who could come between Heath and Alan, upsetting their romance.
The three of them race the clock to find the truth amidst lies, secrets, and possible scandal, while riding the waves of a potential love triangle.
Small-time thug Gregory Slavinsky borrows $25,000 from shady businessman / gangster Ballantine and after missing a loan payment, books a weekend cruise on a four-cabin Lake Michigan steamer, which leaves Milwaukee with stops in Chicago, Mackinac Island and Ontario Canada. That cruise books up very quickly, with Ballantine and his bodyguard George going along to make sure Slavinsky doesn’t escape into Canada along with the money, Mr. Alex Whitaker and Mrs. Vivian Woodfork (his elderly aunt in full mourning gear) plus Detective Heath Barrington and undercover policeman Grant Riker on board to monitor the “criminal element.” And when a body goes overboard and the $25K is missing, is it suicide or murder? And where’s the money?
The murder/mystery is front and center here, but what interests me most about “Death Goes Overboard” is the relationship between Barrington and Alan Keyes. It’s 1947, homosexuality is still considered a mental defect with the distinct possibility of losing your job, getting arrested or “put in an institution and diagnosed as diseased with little potential for being cured” if you are found out. Do you hide in plain sight by marrying and raising a family while seeing men on the side (as one of our cast of characters does), do you claim to be too busy with your career to marry, or do you live discretely and hope one day things will change? Pedersen really captures the feel of the era while giving us two men navigating their way through all the possibilities.
“Death Goes Overboard” is primarily a murder/mystery with gay characters rather than a M/M romance. The mystery holds your interest throughout and does a good job at giving readers a view into life as a gay man in post WWII America. I’m looking forward to the next Heath Barrington mystery and give “Death Goes Overboard” 4 stars.
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