Title: A Body to Dye For
Series: Stan Kraychik Mysteries: Book One
Author: Grant Michaels
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
Length: 241 Pages
Category: Gay Fiction, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: Part murderous romp and part invitation to danger and mayhem, A Body to Dye For is nothing less than entertaining thanks in large part to Stan, who is a bit of a delight.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Stan “Vannos” Kraychik isn’t your everyday Boston hairdresser. Co-owner of Snips Salon with best bud (and occasional nemesis) Nicole, thought this day was an ordinary one. A delivery van backed into the salon’s rear driveway and accidentally spilled gallons of conditioner, leaving Stan (and hunky Roger) embracing in a gooey mess trying to staunch the flow, with little success as they slid and slipped with Nicole watching on with rolling eyes. Later Roger is found murdered.
Stan’s client, Calvin Redding, who owns the apartment where Roger’s body was found, can’t explain why the body is dressed in little more than bowties. Enter Lieutenant Branco, dark, muscular, Italian, (straight) of Boston PD Homicide who immediately suspects everyone, especially Stan. In an attempt to clear his name, Stan travels to California, takes up mountain climbing, eavesdropping, spying, schmoozing, and a little bit of schtupping, all in an attempt to find the truth.
Review: Stanley Kraychik (aka Vannos, because who wants their hairdo done by a mere Stanley?) is but a humble stylist…. Perhaps humble isn’t quite the right word, though, because in truth, Stan is all too willing to acknowledge his extraordinary gift for artistic coiffuring. It’s this confidence plus a good dose of tenacity and some unquestionable cheekiness that leads him into the world of amateur sleuthing. That and…well…a man Stan had hoped to score with who was found dead in the bed of his sworn enemy, Calvin Redding.
Grant Michaels’ A Body to Dye For is nothing less than entertaining thanks in large part to Stan, who is a bit of a delight. The way he and Roger Fayerbrock met might have been called a meet-cute under any other circumstances—and were it not for the fact that Roger was murdered before he and Stan had the chance to explore more intimate territory, namely each other’s landscapes. A combination of his regret over what might have been added to his absolute loathing of Calvin (who never once proved he didn’t deserve it) prompts Stan into action. But first, Stan must convince Lieutenant Vito Branco that he is not the killer. Branco isn’t about to let Stan off lightly, however, especially since Calvin is trying to pin the murder on his arch-nemesis and current hairstylist, Vannos/Stanley. What could possibly go right?!
Part murderous romp and part invitation to danger and mayhem, Stan’s investigation leads readers from Boston to California in search of clues as to why Roger was in Boston to begin with, as well as why someone very clearly wanted the Yosemite National Park ranger out of the picture. Stan carries out his investigation under the auspices—for the most part—of Lt. Branco, but leaving town wasn’t part of the bargain, which lands Stanley in no small amount of hot water with the lieutenant, with his boss and bestie, Nicole, as well as with the unknown entities behind Roger’s murder—who got more than they bargained for with Stan, and would like to put the hurt on him to scare him off their trail. Stanley also brings a couple of unexpected hangers-on back to Boston with him, who each spell a little bit of trouble for our intrepid sleuther: one of them, a young Balinese man, Yudi, who becomes significant to the investigation and to Stan. And another nicknamed Wacky-Jacky, whose name truly fits.
A Body to Dye For was originally published in 1990, and while some of it is undeniably dated to modern sensibilities, Grant Michaels incorporated Stan’s charm and wit with his natural curiosity, some broadly drawn (even splashy) characters, and then takes readers on an enjoyable ride through crime infested waters, even as Stan’s obvious bias against Calvin initially sends him in the right direction but jumping to the wrong conclusions in his quest for justice. The investigation was plotted out to capitalize on the red herrings and wrong turns, and to mete out the suspense while maintaining a bracing pace. The Big Reveal offered some nice twists and turns too, keeping me guessing right up to the final payoff.
If you’re looking for a gritty murder mystery with a hardboiled detective taking the lead, that is not this book. It does not take itself altogether too seriously. But if you’d like a murder mystery with a sassy hairdresser who’s nosy and has a natural talent for trouble and parsing out clues, Stanley Kraychik is your man.
You can buy A Body to Dye For here:
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1 thought on “Review: A Body to Dye For by Grant Michaels”
This sounds fun, may just give it a go!!!