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Hot Rocks (Nick Hoffman Mysteries Book 7) [Kindle Edition]

Lev Raphael
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $5.99

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Book Description

Fitness = Death?

Working out can be tough--and in Hot Rocks it's deadly. Nick Hoffman finds out that underneath the gleaming surface of his gorgeous, upscale health club, there’s plenty of simmering lust and rage. The beautiful people have some ugly secrets.

Once again, Nick gets caught up in solving a mystery when he’d much rather be at home enjoying a gourmet meal with his partner Stefan. Witty and provocative, Hot Rocks offers fans of the Nick Hoffman series another voyage with one of the mystery world’s funniest amateur sleuths.


“A maliciously funny campus mystery.”
New York Times Book Review

“Clever and sharp social satire.”
Los Angeles Times

“The perfect book to take away for a weekend in the country… a genuinely funny modern comedy of manners.”
Washington Post Book World

“A delightful take on death in the halls of academia.”
Boston Globe

“I’ve developed a crush on Lev Raphael’s witty, literate, cheerfully satirical Nick Hoffman mysteries.”
Books To Watch Out For

“Marvelous humor and satisfying mystery…wickedly fun.”
Drood Review of Mystery

“Stylish literary mystery…witty, impeccably written.”
Mystery Review

“Bright, breezy, and laugh-aloud funny.”
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Raphael's entertaining seventh Nick Hoffman mystery (after 2004's Tropic of Murder), the State University of Michigan English professor stumbles on a corpse in a steam room—Vlado Zamaria, the ruthless head trainer at the Michigan Muscle health club. Nick and his pal, Juno Dromgoole, team up once again to ferret out the killer, for whom there's no shortage of suspects: Vlado's bland, dutiful wife plus a plethora of actual and wanna-be lovers and jealous trainers. Nick manages a too-easy sneak peek into Zamaria's unlocked office, finding secrets that eventually reveal the murderer. He half-seriously considers becoming a private eye, much to the chagrin of his lover, Stefan Borowski, who has been stewing in his own troubles. The many amusing and eclectic literary references that alternate with salacious gossip and humorous philosophical rants partially compensate for the novel's lack of tension and action. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Raphael's series hero, Nick Hoffman, is in midlife crisis when he and partner Stefan Borowski return from their Caribbean vacation (marred by murder, of course; see Tropic of Murder, 2004) to resume teaching at the State University of Michigan. Nick's musings over getting older halt abruptly when he realizes that his companion in the health-club steam room is head trainer and all-around stud Vlado Zamario, and he's dead. Before you can say "smoldering temptress," series regular Professor Juno Dromgoole is on the scene, spreading the news that it's murder and proposing to solve it with Nick, the obvious suspect because of his previous involvements with homicide. Given Vlado's encounters with the women at Michigan Muscle, the plot quickly and deliciously thickens into layers of domestic discord highly seasoned with compromising photos. Raphael's latest smoothly delivers a satisfying mystery while providing insight into the middle-aging of America, gay marriage, the excitement of sleuthing as a means of exercising control over our lives, the "Orwellian" Patriot Act, and more. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 4453 KB
  • Print Length: 217 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Lev Raphael (April 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007R8H4PM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent even for those not familiar with Nick Hoffman. September 23, 2007
I had never read any Nick Hoffman story - nor anything, in fact, by Mr. Raphael - so it was with some apprehension that I picked up Hot Rocks. My fears were quickly put to rest: it's a welcoming introduction to the series for anyone, irrespective of their familiarity with Hoffman, Raphael, the State University of Michigan, Michigan Muscle or any of the other wickedly satirical devices Raphael uses. It's terribly funny and the mystery itself holds together and keeps your attention throughout. I plan on reading more by Raphael based on my enjoyment of this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot Rocks rocks! May 31, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a page turner! If you have spent any time at all in a health club, you will easily identify these "gym" types and the unique atmosphere that a health club/gym creates. I found the book to be very creative, amusing, and a twist as the mystery is solved makes it all the more enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new find for me....delightful characters, June 9, 2008
Ah, how I wanted to find another gay sleuth. Since Fred Hunter and his series will no more be as Fred has passed on, this series gives me just what I need. Nick, Juno and Stephan are quite a combo, and since this is my first read in the series, I am sure this book is no exception.

As other reviewers have stated, the murder takes place in a upscale Health Club steam room, and the victom, Vlado, is one of the most popular of the personal trainers at the club. Nick and his bizarre, Divine Miss Juno character take their romp through the steeets of this Michigan burb to find the guilt, and in the process discover much about their own personal demons. But the ride is fun, light fare, and a perfect book for the beach and a cool drink.

But what makes this such a wonderful read is Raphael's view of society, especially as it relates to social doctrine, religious hypocrisy and relationship turmoil. This is a quick read, and you will want to go immediately and get another Hoffman installment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've read all his Nick Hoffman mysteries.... May 24, 2007
...and usually think they're each a good, solid, 4 star.

His new one, Hot Rocks, is the best in terms of writing. Don't know what the slight difference is between this one and his previous books, but it's something.

I also enjoy his comments on the Salon website. Always to-the-point.

Anyway, enjoy his latest novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm So Smart April 12, 2008
Hot Rocks is a laugh-out-loud murder mystery. I'm not even a fan of the genre, at all, but I loved this book. You'll feel very smart if you get all the references, a pleasant aspect of reading this novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Done Right March 12, 2013
By Tom B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lev Raphael expands his Nick Hoffman series with another winner. With his partner's angst and his own unresolved emotional and professional issues as a backdrop, we are treated to another murder mystery in the college town of Michiganopolis. Hunky trainers, sex and local politics all come in to play, but that's all I'm going to say about it. The story builds with a great plot outline, excellent back story and realistic characters. And, along with a riveting style, when so many authors have "dumbed down" their writing, Lev Raphael can still send me to the dictionary. You definitely want to add this to your reading list.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent entry in a great series April 14, 2007
As an escaped academic, I always enjoy spending time with Nick. This time, he's found the body of the hunky head trainer at Michigan Muscle, the health club near SUM. As Nick and Juno peel back the layers of the wealthy and bored people who work out at the club, many secrets and deceptions are revealed. Nick also has to deal with secrets in his relationship with long-term partner Stefan, a moody writer with a complicated past. Raphael sprinkles allusions to pop culture and current events throughout the novel, adding to the ambience and connecting SUM to the real world. It helps to have read the previous entries in this series to understand all the backstory, but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Hoffman Mysteries March 28, 2013
By Ron
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I grew up in Michigan, and attended Michigan State, so these mysteries hold a special connection for me. I guess I would call these books my guilty pleasure... easy to read... fun... characters that I really enjoy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deft writing. Each book in this series is unique.
This was the best Nick Hoffman yet. Nick finds the body of a fitness trainer in the sauna at his gym and investigates with Juno as his sidekick. Read more
Published 3 months ago by mulberry
2.0 out of 5 stars I used to love Lev, but....
I first read Lev Raphael's Dancing on Tisha B'av. I really enjoyed his writing, characters, pretty much everything. Read more
Published 22 months ago by S. Hager
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Nick!
I love the Nick Hoffman series! Lev keeps me interested with the storyline, the food, and the wine. Great combination for some fun reading.
Published 22 months ago by James M Rath
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery
This is one of the most enjoyable gay mysteries I've read in the past year. Nick Hoffman, an associate professor at a state university in Michigan, discovers a dead trainer in the... Read more
Published on March 25, 2013 by T. M. Pruitt
2.0 out of 5 stars A modest attempt
The book had a nice flow, but character development was mediocre and the amount of references the protagonist made was unbearable and unrealistic.
Published on February 6, 2013 by Chelsea
2.0 out of 5 stars Less political agenda and more story please
This book probably would have been a good read if the author hadn't felt compelled to use it to air his political agenda. It's really too bad.
Published on August 5, 2012 by S. Decker
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent all around
I see that other reviews of this mystery novel are more contemporary to its original publication, so perhaps this one is only appropriate for Kindle readers who will be enticed to... Read more
Published on April 27, 2012 by bill m
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another entertainment!
Utterly delightful! Chock full of literary asides and "dishes" to keep the reader going while Nick, in this latest of sleuthing adventures, tries to solve yet another nefarious... Read more
Published on January 26, 2010 by Dennis Brooks
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More About the Author

Lev Raphael has wanted to be an author since he was in second grade, and he's not only achieved his dream, he's published twenty-five books in genres from memoir to mystery to Jane Austen Mashup; had his books translated into nearly a dozen languages; appeared in two documentaries; won various prizes; done hundreds of invited talks and readings on three different continents; recently sold his literary papers (92 boxes!) to the Michigan State University Libraries (MSUL); been the subject of scholarly articles, papers and book chapters; and seen his work taught at colleges and universities around the country. Which means he's become homework. Who knew?

Born and raised in New York, he got over it and has spent half his life in Michigan. He's a pioneer in writing about children of Holocaust survivors, which he's been doing since 1978, longer than almost any other American author. He frequently tours with his books (check for his current schedule) and is currently touring with My Germany, a memoir/travelogue exploring the role Germany has played in his family, his life, and his career.

After he escaped academia to write full-time, he reviewed extensively for over a decade for the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Radio, The Washington Post, Jerusalem Report, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Forward, Boston Review, and Lambda Book Report. He now reviews for and WKAR 90.5 FM/East Lansing Public Radio, and when he's not busy, he sometimes imagines some graduate student years from now in the MSUL archives puzzling over his handwriting.

A seasoned reader of his own work, with a background in theater and teaching, he loves the performance aspect of touring, as well as meeting people he'd never meet back home. And the sightseeing. And the foreign foods. For photos from his previous German book tours, go to

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