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Best Gay Mystery / Thriller

And the Rainbow Award goes to:



1) Elliott Mackle - Only Make Believe ()

Many characters had a tension throughout, the somewhat homo son, the underage daughter having sex with an older male, the two cops, they all fit together in an underhanded way. They may have not been perfect characters they were ideal for this story. Had me from the start and carried me to the end. Bravo! –Mick

Really enjoyed the book. The setting, early 1950s, was outstanding, the author’s knowledge of WWII and Korean War history, as well as the military hierarchy was also outstanding. The murder/mystery plot was solid. The book was well-written, well-edited and a pleasure to read. –Shira


Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (August 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590212924
ISBN-13: 978-1590212929
Amazon: Only Make Believe

It's amateur night at the ultra-private, members-only Caloosa Club on the Fort Myers, Florida, riverfront. Trouble begins when the fat lady sings. Her triumph is sweet. But, only hours later, the diva lies near death in a hotel room upstairs, the victim of a vicious beating. Hotel manager Dan Ewing and his sidekick, Lee County Detective Bud Wright, soon discover that this was no lady and that a variety of unsavory characters hoped to dance on the dead diva's grave. In Southwest Florida in January 1951, almost anyone who wanted to have a little illicit fun put his--or her--life on the line. Dan, a World War II veteran who survived Japanese torpedoes, five days on a life raft and the death of his Navy lover, feels he's found more safety and freedom than any gay man might expect. Dealing cards, serving untaxed mixed drinks and selling the services of escorts of both sexes, he acts as if he has nothing to lose. Yet he does. Bud, his secret lover, is a former Marine sergeant twice decorated for valor. Strong and brave but deeply conventional, he lives with the uneasy knowledge that every time he and Dan make love they commit a felony according to the laws he is sworn to uphold. The Caloosa, exposed to the pitiless glare of a front-page homicide investigation, attracts unwanted attention. The mounting pressure, instead of forging a stronger bond between Dan and Bud, threatens to tear them apart. As the jeopardy to both escalates, Dan realizes he may lose the one man who holds the key to the peace and harmony of his postwar world.

2) Drake Braxton – Missing ()

Oh, this one was heartbreaking and yet full of hope. The way the main character coped with the tragic events brought me to tears. And yet I wanted to know what happens next – even if I thought there would be no happy ending, which, fortunately, wasn't the case. –Caroline

I was really surprised by this one. It was different but engaging from start to finish. –Janet S.


Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications (August 31, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988231018
ISBN-13: 978-0988231016
Amazon: Missing

While attending a 20th high school reunion in Alabama, Blain Harrington loses the love of his life in the blink of an eye. He soon realizes that everything is not always as it seems as he sets out on a journey for answers. What do you do when the world you thought you knew crumbles around you? How do you piece it back together?

3) Scott Sherman - Second You Sin

Second You Sin has all the makings of a traditional mystery genre novel, but with a uniquely gay twist. The narrative voice is strong, the protagonist is witty, and the intimate moments are hot to say the least. Awesome book. –Tim

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation; 1 Original edition (September 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758266510
ISBN-13: 978-0758266514
Amazon: Second You Sin (Kevin Connor Mysteries)

Someone is killing New York City's hottest male prostitutes, and it's up to full-time call boy, part-time sleuth Kevin Connor to find out who. With his spectacular boy-next-door looks, quick wit, and ability to role-play even the most outrageous scenarios, Kevin is facing his most challenging position yet--to stop a ruthless killer. As Kevin begins his investigation, there s no shortage of possible suspects or motives. Could the killer be a sadistic head case with a deadly fetish? A high-profile celebrity worried that his biggest secret might get out? Or perhaps it's a right-wing politician, guilty of protesting too much from his pious and unforgiving soapbox. As Kevin gets closer to the truth, he'll find himself trapped in a scandalous web of secrets where the line between victim and predator blurs, and no sin goes unpunished. . .

Honorable Mention:



4) EM Lynley - Italian Ice ()

This was as good as the first one. The mystery of the story was fun to read about and the characters were likeable. –April O.

I know her work, and sort of knew I'd enjoy the book. Was surprised by how very much I enjoyed it though. –Cherie


Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613724810
ISBN-13: 978-1613724811
Amazon: Italian Ice

5) Marshall Thornton - Boystown 4

I was exceedingly impressed with the historical details, both from the late '70s-'80s and back in the '60s. I actually had to check that this book wasn't a reissue of a book written back then and rereleased. I thought this was the strongest point of the book. It could have been a story from any of the major publishing houses-- tightly plotted, well-developed characters, great descriptions. –Kirsten

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (April 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608205479
ISBN-13: 978-1608205479
Amazon: Boystown 4: A Time for Secrets A Nick Nowak Novel

Greg Herren - Murder in the Irish Channel

Quite honestly, I loved this book. The plot development was absolutely fantastic and I loved how the author developed the story, leaving you wondering what exactly happened and why until the last few pages and even threw in a twist or two that was not expected. A definite keeper for me. –Danielle

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160282584X
ISBN-13: 978-1602825840
Amazon: Murder in the Irish Channel (Chanse Macleod Mysteries)

Neil Plakcy - Mahu Blood ()

An excellent story for a novel of over 300 pages but it went easily and smoothly. Never got lost in boring descriptions but everything was presented smoothly and simply moved on. As a cop story this one gets a top 10! –Mick

Normally I'm a slow reader, but I read this entire book in one day. That should tell you from the start that I liked it. The book was quite well written, and more than that, it was interesting. There was a great deal of Hawaiian culture and history in the book, but inserted so that it was all relevant to the plot and very natural to the story. –Johnny


Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (February 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608203069
ISBN-13: 978-1608203062
Amazon: Mahu Blood

8) Haley Walsh - Foxe Hunt

Great story, and I so don’t like prissy characters! –Zahra

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (September 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608204235
ISBN-13: 978-1608204236
Amazon: Foxe Hunt

9) Geoffrey Knight - Scott Sapphire and the Emerald Orchid ()

Hot men, jewels, chocolate and champagne…how can you go wrong? –Theresa

This book is a romp from start to finish, unashamedly borrowing from classic adventure films, not to mention James Bond. (I liked your cameo, too, Elisa, by the way.) I enjoyed the cinematic style of writing and the incorporation of old gimmicks like quicksand, the femme fatale, the classic McGuffin and the serial cliffhanger ending. –Melissa


Publisher: Imperial Pride: Imprint of Dare Empire eMedia Productions (April 21, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Scott Sapphire and the Emerald Orchid

L.C. Chase - Riding with Heaven

This was a great read with engaging characters. –Gene

Publisher: Loose Id LLC (June 5, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Riding with Heaven

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