The Gay Detective

Nick and Norm in Chicago

Fiction - Thriller - General
216 Pages
Reviewed on 10/05/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Kenneth Michaels, originally from Detroit, graduated from Columbia University with a M.Ed. in Counseling. He cofounded San Francisco’s renowned Encounter Theatre, where actors role-played with audience members to resolve personal-relationship conflicts, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts for more than two decades. Along with stage work and screenplays, Michaels wrote a one-man show The Importance of Being Ernst and the acclaimed comedy What’s Normal? The Los Angeles Weekly News said, “Ken Michaels throws out bon mots like a computer in love with Oscar Wilde.” He currently lives and writes in Key West and is currently working on The Gay Detective, Nick and Norm in Key West.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Marilla Mulwane for Readers' Favorite

The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago by Kenneth D. Michaels manages to do what most mysteries can't do. It manages to do what most LGBT books can't do. It entertains. Somehow, these two different genres come together to create an enjoyable masterpiece. The Gay Detective will bring together lovers of both genres and bring in readers that didn't know they liked either one.

The Gay Detective is about, well, a gay detective named Nick who is also a talk show host that interviews famous gay people. When a murderer begins to destroy everything that Nick loves and believes in, he must pull himself together and face his enemy or be destroyed. With the help of his new partner and a host of other interesting sidekicks, Nick will face hate, anger, grief, and revenge with himself and his enemy.

Kenneth D. Michaels has some awesome writing skills. The book is about a gay detective, but the morals and thought provoking moments can be universal for anyone. Despite being a book with a gay lead, the story is not campy. It doesn't rely on predictable gay personality traits and uses them for humor. Nick is very real. That's doesn't mean there isn't any humor. There are many humorous moments; they just aren't crass.

The story also manages to be great for teaching readers to deal with grief. How the author managed to fit so much helpful information into a story that is also a page-turner is beyond me. And it is a page-turner for sure. At times the story is creepy and nerve wracking, and the reveal isn't obvious or easy to figure out until near the end. Kenneth D. Michaels needs to keep Nick and Norm together for at least a few more books.

Jack Magnus

The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago, Volume One is a police procedural novel written by Kenneth D. Michaels. Nick Scott is a police detective in the First District Central of the Chicago Police Department. He’s also the host of The Gay Detective, a weekly television series that will be bringing on celebrities, athletes and other personalities who are gay. The show is being produced and directed by Darren Connor, Nick’s lover and partner for the last fifteen years. The first show featured long-time, best-selling novelist, Harold Sapoti, and the general consensus was that the series would be a resounding success. Then Sapoti’s body was found in the condominium where he was staying for his appearance on the show. He had been stabbed, and the killer had scrawled messages around the crime scene. Nick and his new partner, Norm Malone, are not quite sure about their assignment as a team, but when Darren’s body is also discovered not long after, outside the couple’s home, Norm takes it on himself to protect Nick with his life, if need be.

Kenneth D. Michaels’ police procedural novel, The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago, Volume One, is a thrilling and suspenseful introduction to a new mystery series that, quite frankly, has me very excited. The omniscient and elusive serial killer is terrifying and brutal, and watching the two detectives bond as they attempt to decipher the clues the killer leaves is a treat. Michaels’ characters work so well together, and following their personal interactions as the older Norm shares his family life with Nick and tries to teach him how to spar, is almost as compelling as the case they are so intimately involved with. This stylish homage to the Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles mysteries captures the breeziness and humor of the early novel and the films it spawned. I had a grand time reading The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago, and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series: Nick and Norm in Key West. This offbeat and marvelous police procedural has heart and humor tied up in a neat and well-written little package, and it’s most highly recommended.

Raanan Geberer

There are certainly many gay detectives in the United States today, and Kenneth D. Michaels’ The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago does an excellent job of fashioning a mystery story around one of them. The hero, Nick Scott, is not only a bona-fide Chicago police detective but the host of a new TV show, “The Gay Detective,” in which he interviews prominent members of the gay community. The problem is that as soon as he begins the show, his partner and each of his guests are successively murdered by a crazed killer who leaves notes with nonsense messages like “Dink, Dink, Hail, Be Merry, Love/Death.” Nick is defiant, daring the killer to come out of hiding while he is on the air, but his chief doesn’t want him to have any more guests. In the meantime, Nick has begun investigating the killings with fellow detective Norm Malone, an older family man who is as straight as they come.

In the 1960s, Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, in “I Spy,” pioneered the then-novel concept of a white and a black man being partners in an action TV series, and that, in a way, is what Kenneth Michaels is trying to do in The Gay Detective. In the persons of Norm, Nick’s mother and others, Michaels shows us that the average American no longer fears or hates gays. I also give Michaels points for centering his mystery novel in Chicago, rather than in New York, San Francisco, or any of the obvious gay meccas in the U.S. The Gay Detective is an excellent book, and I would recommend it to all mystery lovers.