Title: Shadow Puppet (Dan Sharp Mystery #6)
Author: Jeffrey Round
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Release Date: February 2nd 2019
Genre(s): Gay Mystery
Page Count: 312
Reviewed by: LenaR
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Private investigator Dan Sharp investigates the disappearance of three closeted gay men.
When a serial killer stalks downtown Toronto, Private Investigator Dan Sharp finds an unexpected link between the missing men that even the police are reluctant to investigate. A meeting with the chief of police confirms his suspicions, but does nothing to resolve the problem. Obsessed with uncovering the truth, Dan enlists a small group of friends to delve into illicit goings-on in the local sex industry. It’s only when the next man disappears, that Dan finds himself in a race against time to track down an elusive, manipulative killer who is a master of disguise.
Another excellent addition to the Dan Sharp Mystery series by Jeffrey Round, another one that kept me awake through the night.
An interesting fact that author shares with his readers at in the foreword of the book:
My story is not the real-life story of Toronto’s search for a serial
killer, though it parallels certain facts, including the fact that the
Toronto police force didn’t take the cries for help from community
members seriously. More than anything, it is a chilling reminder that
some suspected disappearances are deemed worth investigating,
while others are not.
There are rumors going around in the LGBT’s community of Toronto about the ongoing disappearances of gay men. At least three cases are known by now, but probably there are more of them. The missing men live alone and as a rule don’t have any close connection to their families. At least it is the only known thing the missing gay men have in common. Is there more to that? In spite of the growing concern of the community members about their safety, the Toronto police doesn’t show any interests to tackle as a priority the issue of the disappeared gay persons. Until one day a famous openly gay cancer researcher has been found knifed to dead in the same neighborhood where all missing gay men were reported. While the police investigates the possibility of a simple robbery gone wrong and considers a homophobic hate crime as a second choice, Dan Sharper, a missing persons investigator, gets a job to do: two Moslem men hire Dan to find their missing brother Nabil, who has vanished some days ago. The truth about Nabil’s sexuality has been detected by his brothers by chance when they searched through his private things trying to find any information considering his disappearance. Islam versus homosexuality. Pornography, Islam AND homosexuality is even more complicated. Dan’s investigation leads him in the local sex industry. The case turns out to be not only very problematic, but also very mysterious and very dangerous. How far can Dan go without risking his own life and the lives of his loved ones?
Jeffrey Round delivers not only a solid mystery with multiple layers and complex and compelling characters, but simply an excitingly entertaining and gripping read up till the end. The last parts were pure torture! The suspense was excruciating!
What I really like in Jeffrey Round stories – they feel soooo real and authentic. I pretty much appreciate the cultural aspects in them and the settings in Toronto. All in all I think that the author deserves much more attention for his series. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I highly recommend to start the series from the book 1. You’ll better understand and much more enjoy the company of Dan and his friends. The book 6 doesn’t have any boy-friend. There are some private encounters but they have rather an importance for a mystery background, less for Dan’s relationship with another person. But it leaves only more to hope for a future plot’s development.
The series is getting better and better with every installment. I can’t already wait for the next one!