Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Only in Key West: The Nick and Norm Gay Detective Series, Volume 2 is a murder mystery novel written by Kenneth D. Michaels. Chicago Police Detective Nick Scott and his partner, Norm Malone, were quite happy with the one-week all-expenses-paid vacation the City was providing them for their work in catching The Reaper. The tropical breezes and sunny skies of Key West were a far sight more comfortable than Chicago’s blustery winds and below-freezing temperatures. They were staying in the Hidden Sands Resort, the former home of a prominent plastic surgeon. Using their accrued vacation leave, the two detectives had opted to make that week vacation two weeks long. Nick and his now-deceased partner, Darren, had loved vacationing in Key West and particularly enjoyed watching Sho Yu’s New Year’s descent in the Big Red Shoe. Sho was a drag queen whose shows at the 801 bar were legendary. It had been a year now since Darren had been slain by The Reaper, and Nick still had nightmares about his death. He and Norm had grown closer than most partners since then; they were more like family now. Norm wasn’t so sure about ringing in the New Year watching Sho in the Big Red Shoe, but his daughter Patti insisted that he do so, and that was that. The celebration was packed with jubilant residents and tourists, but when the crane that was lowering Sho and her husband, Matt, malfunctioned, the crowd was horrified to see Sho tossed out of the Shoe and Matt badly injured in the accident. Nick and Norm automatically stepped in as police officers and worked to maintain some semblance of order until Key West Police Chief Gabriel Perez arrived. Nick was stunned by the appearance of this cop in khaki; he was way too good looking, and the electricity when their eyes met was all too real.
Kenneth D. Michaels’ murder mystery novel, Only in Key West: The Nick and Norm Gay Detective Series, Volume 2, is a breath of tropical paradise in the dead of winter as the two detectives learn to relax and enjoy their two-week vacation, but you know there’ll be a mystery that they just can’t resist getting involved in. That is especially true in this case where Chief Perez has asked for their assistance as consultants, and Nick begins to wrestle with feelings of guilt over being attracted to another man. While this book can be read as a standalone novel, I strongly recommend that readers begin with the first book in this exceptionally good series, The Gay Detective. That book lays the groundwork for the series and explores the close personal and professional relationship the two detectives share. Michaels’ depiction of that tropical paradise known as Key West had me feverishly trying to figure out how to relocate there or, at least, spend a few weeks vacation. Only in Key West is superbly plotted, and I enjoyed hunting for clues to solve the mystery while bathing vicariously in that tropical sun and enjoying the swimming pool that’s part of the Hidden Sands Resort. Only in Key West: The Nick and Norm Gay Detective Series, Volume 2 is most highly recommended.