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Death Vows (A Donald Strachey Mystery) Paperback – August 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: mlr press; 1st edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934531332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934531334
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Donald Strachey series resumes after a five-year hiatus, with a change of publisher, and without having lost any sleuther virtues. Gay PI Strachey is retained by one of a pair of rich retired lovers to investigate Barry Fields, the young spouse-to-be (the setting is in Massachusetts) of their middle-aged friend Bill Moore. Then the client is murdered, Mob-style. Strachey has already established that Barry, his roommate, and his fiancé, Bill, suspiciously lack pasts, probably because they’re all using aliases, but he can’t see any of them having Mob connections. With Barry in custody, Strachey goes to work for Bill, who immediately decamps to Washington, D.C., and becomes incommunicado. Barry’s roomie absconds, and the murdered man’s partner gets pissy. It’s remarkable, however, what Strachey can find out from working his connections and following his hunches, and fortunate that the cops on the case are unbiased. But then, since Massachusetts’ law legalizing gay marriage is crucial to the plot, it’s politic to present the commonwealth’s lawmen as straight shooters. --Ray Olson


Death Vows is engaging and powerful. Richard Stevenson can write. --Robert B. Parker, Spenser private eye series --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Death Vows is the second Donald Strachey mystery I've read, and I really enjoyed it.
What I didn't expect was that I would have to plod through bad formatting, continual misspellings, missing and/or garbage words, etc.
F. Neumann
The actual Kindle version is horrible - it's like the pages were scanned and not checked for mistakes.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 7, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This new Donald Strachey murder mystery by Richard Stevenson is set in 2008 Western Massachusetts where a thriving Gay/Lesbian community has embraced the state's legal endorsement of same-sex marriage with gusto. But old mores and prejudices die hard and there are other sectors of the population that are extremely unhappy with these changes in the state's social climate. Some belonging to the old guard are more than willing to take violent action against the newly empowered gay and lesbian citizenry.

With this contemporary backdrop, author Stevenson has consructed a clever and plausible murder story that is laced with sharp wit and compelling characters. The story's ironic conclusion, while close to over the top, is pure and satisfying justice and alone worth the price of the book.

Stevenson is an accomplished mystery writer and in "Death Vows," avoids the cliched characters and scenarios that some gay genre novels embrace. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The allowance of legal gay marriage in Massachusetts has caused many a gay couple to travel there for their opportunity to be wed. "Death Vows" is another chapter in the series of Donald Strachey's adventures as the only gay private investigator in Albany, New York. His latest case deals with the fear and hypocrisy surrounding Gay marriage in Massachusetts, where one person pays a price no one should pay for love. "Death Vows" is a riveting mystery with a good dose of satire on today's worlds opinions on homosexuality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Berkshire Mountain resort area in Massachusetts is the temporary workplace for Albany Private Investigator Donald Strachey, who is hired by the older boyfriend of a young gay man who has been arrested for murdering an older gay man, who previously had hired Strachey to dig up some "dirt" on the young man to discourage their impending wedding. With much of the life of the deceased and the alleged killer, as well as man who hired him, all seeming to be among the many secrets kept in this small town, Donald has to get very creative to try to find another suspect or any motive for the killing. Standing in his way is the tough, local District Attorney, running for re-election, who is relying on a previous altercation between the two men at a grocery store (The young man threw a wheel of cheese) as all he needs for a conviction. The investigation brings out an apparent Mob connection, the past from which the young man has been trying to distance himself, and questions about the possible involvement of a former federal agent.

This is the ninth in the series of Donald Strachey books by the author (I have read them all), and the first in five long years. In the interim, Here!TV had made several of the earlier titles into made-for-gay-cable films, and my guess is that this unexpected addition to the series is to provide a more modern storyline (featuring gay marriages) that is tailor-made for such a screenplay. Unfortunately, it seems more like an embellished outline for such a story, coming in just under 200 pages, lacking the meticulous story and character development I remember in earlier books. Like a welcome, but all too brief, visit from old friends you would have liked to have stayed longer. With hopes that any future installments are written for your readers, not just the screenwriter, I'll still call it four stars out of five.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch VINE VOICE on August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Private Investigator Donald Strachey works out of Albany, New York. However, this case takes him to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Bill Moore and his fiancé, Barry Fields, are due to wed later in the month. A couple of his friends, Jim Sturdivant and Steven Gaudios, hire Donald to do a back ground check on Fields to see if he were shady. Turns out that Bill and Barry both have zero in the history department before six years ago. Neither will speak about their pasts either.

Donald drops the case when he learns that Jim and Steven are not friends of Bill Moore's at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. For Don, the whole mess would have been over except that Jim turns up dead, less than one day after Barry assaulted him in a grocery store with a cheese wheel and said some pretty threatening things. Of course, Barry Fields is the prime suspect due to this. The D.A. of Berkshire County sees this to be a simply open and shut case. The last thing he wants is anyone messing up the facts, as he sees them. Reelection is coming up, after all.

Bill hires Don to prove Barry is innocent. Problem is that neither Bill, nor Barry, will give up anything about their past lives. Worse, Jim's death looks like a mob-hit. The more digging Don does, the messier things become; and violence soon winds up at Don's door.

**** Just about every character in this story has same gender relationships. (I state it that way so web filters will not block my site.) So if you have strong feelings against such, do not read this book. Heck, do not read any book in the Donald Strachey series. If this does not bother you, then you are going to totally enjoy this read! As I read the story, I got the feeling of watching, one of those old classic black-and-white P.I. flicks.
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Format: Paperback
Gay Marriage is legalized in Massachusetts and PI Don Strachey is called to the Berkshires to investigate the young man a friend of the client wants to marry. But Strachey ends up refusing the job when he discovers the client isn't a friend of the man at all. Then the client ends up murdered and the young man, mysteriously without a past, is implicated. Strachey feels his inquiries might have led to the young man being suspected of murder and accepts the young man's fiance as a client in order to see if he can clear him of the charge.

Hints of sexual extortion or perhaps just questionable lending practices surround the dead man and his partner. As does hints of the mob. Strachey is distracted by the hidden past of the young man, even though he believes in his innocence. Yet there doesn't seem to be any other clear suspects in the murder. The mystery is involved and twisting. The various elements are torn from recent headlines, making the mystery very timely. And there are strong elements of suspense and adventure. I thought it an intriguing, satisfying read.
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