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Shock to the System: A Donald Strachey Mystery (Donald Strachey Mysteries) [Paperback]

Richard Stevenson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Feb 2007 Donald Strachey Mysteries
Donald Strachey is asked to investigate the suspicious death of Paul Haig by three different people-Haig's homophobic mother, his ex-lover, and the psychiatrist hired to "cure" him of his homosexuality. Just as he gets started, however, all three remove him from the case, leaving Strachey with a brutal murderer that now everyone wants left alone.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Harrington Park Press Inc (1 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560237171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560237174
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,066,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Stevenson has deftly picked up where he left off...A tightly plotted, fast-paced, entertaining mystery full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end." --"Lambda Rising Book Report on Third Man Out"
"Stevenson's real coup in "Shock to the System "is his memorably varied cast of suspects." --"Kirkus Reviews on Shock to the System"
"A warm welcome back to Richard Stevenson-his admirable, absorbing new mystery has the immediacy and realism of a telegram from the front." --Katherine V. Forrest, author of "Flashpoint"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing mystery. 27 Sep 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Strachey, as usual, is a fun read, and this is a well constructed murder mystery, filled with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on his toes. Of course, our hero occasionally heads in the slightly wrong direction but that's part of his charm. There's an interesting, if rather frightening, focus of sexual aversion treatment which ties the strange cast of characters together. Another Stevenson success!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Stevenson continues to snap, crackle & pop! 9 Sep 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Let me explain why I think Richard Stevenson is, page for page, word for word, the best gay mystery writer around.
First, there's the whole "gay mystery" issue. You don't have to be gay to enjoy Stevenson's clever, crafty mysteries. The books are funny and intelligent. The political tone is non-strident and therefore convincing. The main characters are people who happen to be gay, instead of (as, for example, in Mark Richard Zubro's mysteries) gays who happen to be people.
Secondly, Stevenson is the real thing. A MYSTERY writer. Not a stylist capitalizing on his sexual orientation (see Michael Nava). This man plots. He twists, he turns, he ties up loose ends.
Thirdly, Stevenson manages to be both funny as hell and insightful. Why is the tendency to think that a funny book is somehow not as serious (read "good") as, for example, a book where the alcoholic hero can't keep it together with his young, HIV-positive lover? Personally I think Stevenson has a more relevant message for his gay audience, even if it is positive. Glance over some of the Timmy and Don exchanges, especially in the first three books of the series, and see if they aren't just plain smarter than anything the competition (poetry spouting not withstanding) ever dreampt of in his universe.
Lastly but not leastly, Stevenson creates amusing, believable characters not stereotypes. The man has a wicked gift for caricature, and yet there are shades of sympathy in these portraits drawn from both the gay and straight community. And of course there is the always intriguing partnership of Stevenson's own odd couple, Strachey and Timmy. In fact, if this novel has a weakness it is the dearth of those Timmy and Strachey International Coffee Moments.
In conclusion, I'm willing to concede that given the shortage of gay mysteries--let alone excellent gay mysteries--Stevenson doesn't have a lot of competition, so it's hard to really judge him. After all, he does have one fatal weakness as an author: he doesn't churn them out nearly fast enough
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Mystery Writers Today! 25 Mar 2003
By Joseph J. Hanssen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you've read one of Stevenson's "Donald Strachey" mysteries, you will want to read the whole series, and then you will be eagerly waiting for his next mystery to be published. Stevenson's mysteries are addictive, mainly because the characters are so believable, there are more twists and turns to keep you constantly guessing, and they are not boringly serious, they can be quite funny at times.
This story opens as Albany's gay Private Investigator, Donald Strachey, is asked to investigate the death of Phyllis Haig's, gay son, Paul. Apparently the mother believes his lover, Larry, killed Paul, and that it was not a suicide as the police seem to believe. Vernon Crockwell enters the story as the controversial psychologist whose practice is devoted to "curing" homosexuals. Strachey ends up with three clients who want to hire him, to find out the truth, but Strachey soon becomes aware there are a lot of unanswered questions. As the story reveals, Paul Haig's death is much more complicated then he expected. Prepare yourself for a lot of surprises with this one.
The interaction between Donald Strachey and his long-time partner, Timmy, is always well done, and very realistic. All lovers of good mysteries, whether gay or heterosexual, will appreciate this book. Stevenson is a fine writer who knows how to weave a shocking and gripping mystery.

Joe Hanssen
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing mystery. 27 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Strachey, as usual, is a fun read, and this is a well constructed murder mystery, filled with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on his toes. Of course, our hero occasionally heads in the slightly wrong direction but that's part of his charm. There's an interesting, if rather frightening, focus of sexual aversion treatment which ties the strange cast of characters together. Another Stevenson success!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Complex Characters 3 July 2007
By Neil S. Plakcy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Everybody seems to want to hire Don to investigate the death of Paul Haig, including his boozy mother, Phyllis, his lover, Larry Bierly, and Dr. Vernon Crockwell, who tried to "cure" both Paul and Larry of their homosexuality.

This one, too, kept me in the dark until the final resolution. My favorite quote, Don speaking of Timmy: "It was hell loving a man who got all his values from dead white European males, but to have done such was my complex destiny."

That sums up what I love about this series-- Don and Timmy are such real, interesting, complex characters.

Neil Plakcy, author of [...]
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read for the Gay Man 27 Sep 2005
By Dennis E. Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Richard Stevenson's A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: A DONALD STRACHEY MYSTERY. The mystery kept my interest and the wide range of "possible" villians kept me guessing to the end. I especially enjoyed reading a novel clearly written by a gay male. This is not a sex novel but the interactions between Strachey and his life partner were funny, sexy and real life. The only reason that it did not receive five stars was the price for a relatively short read.
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