Only in Key West

The Nick and Norm Gay Detective Series

Fiction - Crime
242 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Key West is unlike any other city I have lived in or visited. Many residents have lived here over twenty years and most say once they experienced it, they knew they had to live here. I became one of those people. After living in Chicago over 15 years, I packed up my car and my dog and decided this was home. I found the people to be supportive, creative, and weird. Since I've been different all my life, I fit right in.
The motto of the city is One Human Family and since I believe that, it was easy to adopt. When I wrote my first book, The Gay Detective, I paired two radically different detectives together, who found that by working together they eventually accepted and respected the other's quirks. My sequel, Only in Key West, continued with the two detectives, who learned that despite what happens, they could work through their problems and still be friends. In other words, I incorporated the philosophy of One Human Family into my books. As Maya Angelou says, "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."

    Book Review

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.

Melinda Hills

For two overwhelmed Chicago detectives coming off a grisly case, there is nothing better than a vacation, paid for at that! But as things go in Only in Key West by Kenneth D. Michaels, Nick and Norm are dragged into a mystery that ends up putting both of their lives at risk. Nick, the star of a talk show, The Gay Detective, and his straight partner, Norm, have a great working relationship and are asked by the local police chief to help solve the disappearance of an extremely popular drag queen entertainer after a nearly tragic accident. As Nick and Norm dig into the colorful life of this group of entertainers, even more questions arise. Connections to recent suicides make the issue all the more complicated, especially with the chief of police providing little support. The arrival of Nick’s mother and Norm’s adult daughter and her two sons add personal drama and the presence of Jojo, a Chicago medical examiner who happens to be a dwarf, completes the odd combination of characters staying at the mansion. With the help of Jojo and his connections in Key West, as well as good old-fashioned police work, Nick and Norm come close to cracking the case, but not before someone tries to take them out of the picture. Who really is behind these crimes and will personal conflict interfere with a safe resolution?

Only in Key West is the ideal book for action/detective readers who love interesting twists and turns. Kenneth D. Michaels brings the exciting night life of Key West alive with his descriptions of the entertainers and the openness and acceptance of the LGBT community. Michaels also provides a deep look into the psychology of loss, potential addiction and grief through the main character, Nick, so there is more to this story than an exciting plot and the allure of a gay relationship. Well done, and a quick and exciting read; this is definitely one book that is easy to enjoy and leaves you hoping for more in the series. Great story - I felt as though I was part of the action with the clear descriptions and lively pace.

Kris Moger

Only in Key West by Kenneth D. Michaels is the continuing story of two detectives, Norm Malone and Nick Scott. After solving a big case, they take a vacation in Key West to recuperate. While there, the two men find themselves entangled in the disappearance of the stage star Sho Yu. The handsome and enticing Chief Perez invites Norm and Nick to help him find out what happened. However, the more they find out, the more complicated things get as Nick and Norm start to suspect nothing is as it seems, especially Chief Perez. Nick finds himself falling for Perez and he begins to wonder if he is risking more than his heart.

Mystery novels have always been a great draw for me when it comes to looking for a book to read. I enjoy the sense of not knowing and the challenge of trying to figure out 'whodunit' before the end. Kenneth D. Michaels' Only in Key West not only had a terrific mystery to unravel, it also had diverse, engaging characters that drew me in and made me want to find out more. The world he creates is vivid and rich, and the mystery left me guessing until the end. Although I have not read the previous book in the series, I did not feel lost in the story or that I was missing information. I would recommend this book to all those who enjoy diversity in their characters and a touch of provocative seduction to their detective novels. Thanks for the read.