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The 10 Best Gay Mystery Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Gay Mystery Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

Step into the shadowy realm of gay mystery books, where secrets linger in the mist and the unknown looms in the darkness, where the thrill of the chase and the rush of the reveal keep you on the edge of your seat. These books are not just tales of crime and suspense, but also a reflection of the LGBTQ+ community and their ongoing struggles for acceptance and equality.

We have traversed the literary landscape, scouring for the most thrilling and suspenseful stories that showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the queer community. From fast-paced and gritty crime novels set in the heart of New York City to thought-provoking stories that delve into the complexities of love, friendship, and identity, these books offer something for every reader.

They are not just a form of entertainment but also a medium to understand and empathize with the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.

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With an overwhelming number of books available, it can be overwhelming to decide what to read next. But fear not, for we have curated a list of the top 10 gay mystery books that will capture your imagination and leave you guessing until the very end. Each one is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a shining beacon of hope in the face of adversity. 

These books not only entertain but also give voice to the ongoing struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and make readers feel a sense of pride and empowerment.

These books will transport you to different worlds, introduce you to new and captivating characters, and immerse you in a world of mystery and intrigue. The gay characters in these novels are not just there to be gay, they are well-rounded, complex individuals, who happen to be gay, and their stories are worth telling.

In this article, we review not only the books but also explore the representation of gay characters in mystery novels. We will delve into the themes and messages that these books convey, and how they contribute to the ongoing conversation about LGBTQ+ rights and representation in literature.

So, come along for the ride, and let us unveil the most captivating gay mystery books that will leave you wanting more. Whether you’re a seasoned mystery reader or new to the genre, we hope that this article will inspire you to pick up one of these books and get lost in a thrilling and suspenseful story.

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Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

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Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

I was excited to dive into Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon, and I was not disappointed. The book features a gay protagonist, Adrien English, who is a successful screenwriter and amateur detective. The story takes place in the world of Hollywood movie-making, and it explores themes related to LGBT experiences and issues.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this book is the representation of Adrien as a gay man. He is an open, out, and proud character and his sexuality is an integral part of his identity.

The book deals with themes such as discrimination, coming out, and the challenges of being gay in the entertainment industry. It was refreshing to read about a character who is not defined by his sexuality, but it is just one aspect of his complex personality.

The author does a great job of capturing the feel of Hollywood and the movie-making industry. The descriptions of the different locations and sets are vivid and add to the atmosphere of the story.

The romantic subplot between Adrien and another man, detective Julie Mulvaney, was depicted positively and realistically. It was great to see a gay couple as the main romantic focus, without any stereotypes or negative stereotypes.

As a mystery novel, the book is also a page-turner, with a well-written plot, interesting characters, and a lot of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. Adrien is a likable, relatable protagonist, and the dialogue is witty and engaging. The novel is a well-written, suspenseful story that will keep you guessing until the end. Highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith The novel follows the story of Tom Ripley, who is drawn into a world of deception and murder after he is hired to bring a wealthy playboy back to the United States. 

Set in the 1950s, a time when homosexuality was still heavily stigmatized and criminalized, the novel explores the character of Tom, a young man who is deeply in the closet about his sexuality and is desperate to fit in with the wealthy, heterosexual society he finds himself in. He becomes obsessed with a wealthy acquaintance, Dickie Greenleaf, and goes to great lengths to assume his identity and take over his life.

As a gay reader living in the 21st century, I found myself relating to the struggles of the characters in the book. The novel touches on themes of identity and the pressure to conform to societal norms. The characters, particularly Tom Ripley, are constantly trying to hide their true selves and fit into a world that does not accept them. 

This resonated with me on a personal level, as I have often felt the need to hide my true self in order to fit in. The book is a powerful reminder of the damaging effects of societal pressure and the lengths to which people will go to fit in and be accepted. Despite the novel’s setting in the past, the themes it explores are still relevant today as the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for acceptance and equality. 

I would have liked to see some more representation of mental health issues. While the book might not be centered around it, it could have important characters or plot points that touch on mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and trauma, as it could have added depth to the characters and the story.

Fadeout by Joseph Hansen

Fadeout by Joseph Hansen is a gripping novel that follows the lives of gay men living in the 1950s. The story is set in Hollywood, where the main character, Dave Brandstetter, is a private investigator who is hired to investigate the death of a young gay actor.

The characters in this book are incredibly relatable for a gay person living in the 21st century. Dave, the main character, is a complex and nuanced individual who struggles with his own identity and the societal pressures that come with being gay in a time when homosexuality was not accepted.

The other characters in the book, such as the actor’s family and friends, also face their own struggles with acceptance and understanding.

The setting of the book, Hollywood in the 1950s, is also incredibly resonant for a gay person today. The city is portrayed as a place where people come to escape their past and create new identities for themselves, but it is also a place where people are judged and discriminated against based on their sexuality.

The book, in my opinion, could have done a better job of representing other marginalized communities. While it centers on the gay community, I believe it would have been beneficial to incorporate more diversity in terms of race, gender, and class. That being said, Fadeout is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of being gay in a society that is not always accepting.

The characters and setting of the book are incredibly relatable for a gay person living in the 21st century, and the story is a powerful reminder of the struggles that the LGBTQ+ community has faced and continues to face today.

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Murder And Gold by Ann Aptaker

Murder and Gold is a gripping gay crime novel set in the 1950s that follows the story of a group of Cantor Gold, a gay Jewish art dealer who finds himself embroiled in a dangerous web of murder and deception. 

I felt that this book accurately represented the setting of the 1950s in New York City, as it was a time of great social and political change. The city is portrayed as a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds, but also a place where discrimination and prejudice are still very much a part of everyday life.

This adds to the tension and drama of the story, as Cantor must navigate not only the murder case but also the prejudices of those around him.

The author has done an excellent job of portraying the complexities of being gay in a world that is not accepting. I found myself deeply drawn to Cantor Gold.

His struggles as a gay man in a society that is not yet accepting of homosexuality resonate with the struggles that many LGBTQ+ people still face today. Despite the challenges he faces, Cantor is a strong and determined character who refuses to be defined by the prejudices of others.

In conclusion, “Murder and Gold” by Ann Aptaker is a masterfully crafted crime novel that takes the reader on a thrilling journey through the seedy underbelly of 1950s New York City. This novel is not only a page-turner but also a reflection on the past and present struggles of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Dead Dead Girls is a gripping and emotionally charged thriller of the lives of two Black, gay, and estranged brothers as they navigate the aftermath of a devastating tragedy that befalls their family. The story is set in the contemporary world, bringing to light the struggles of being black and gay, while also dealing with themes of family, trauma and redemption.

This book stood out to me as it gives a voice to Black and gay men and the pressures they face from both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities to conform to certain stereotypes and expectations. The author illustrates the character’s inner turmoil and the complexities of his identity in an authentic way, giving a voice to the struggles of Black gay men trying to navigate their identity.

This book resonated with me on a deep level. The characters’ struggles with their identities and experiences were so familiar to me, and it was refreshing to see those struggles represented in literature and with visibility in creating a more inclusive and accepting world.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I felt some of the characters could have been fleshed out more, making them feel more well-rounded and developed. However, it is a book that I would highly recommend to any reader looking for a story that deals with themes of identity and discrimination.

Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht

Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht is a captivating and thought-provoking novel set in the 1960s, that explores the complexities of identity and the human experience. The story follows the life of Vera Kelly, a young woman who has always felt out of place in her own skin.

She has always struggled to understand herself and her place in the world and is forced to confront her own identity as she becomes embroiled in a dangerous web of espionage and intrigue.

As the story unfolds, Vera is forced to confront her past and question her own identity as she becomes embroiled in a dangerous web of espionage and intrigue. The story is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

The author does an excellent job of depicting the ways in which the character’s experiences of gender and sexuality intersect, and how it affects her life, relationships, and sense of self.

Moreover, Knecht’s writing about the political situation in Argentina and the way it affects the characters in the book reflects the reality of many people today, who still live in countries where political dissent is not tolerated, and where basic human rights are not respected.

That being said, the representation of the gay community in the book is not always positive, and it might be a triggering subject for some readers. This representation, however, reflects the 

many individuals in the present day still hold prejudice and judge individuals based on their sexual orientation.

Dirty Laundry by Rhys Ford

Dirty Laundry by Rhys Ford is a mystery novel that follows the investigations of a private investigator, Kai Gracen, as he uncovers the truth behind a series of murders that have rocked the Los Angeles gay community. Kai is a gay man himself and is determined to find the killer before he strikes again.

Kai takes on the case of a murdered drag queen and soon finds himself caught up in a web of deception and lies. He discovers that the murders are connected to a powerful and dangerous underground organization that is determined to keep its secrets at all costs.

Kai has to navigate the dangerous world of the murders, and the investigation leads him to a group of friends; one of them is his ex-boyfriend, who is also a prime suspect in the case. 

The story provides an insight into the daily struggles and challenges faced by Kai, as he navigates a society that is not always accepting of him. One of the main struggles he faces is discrimination and prejudice. For example, Kai’s ex-boyfriend Ed, finds it hard to accept Kai’s sexual orientation and their past relationship and often belittles and dismisses Kai’s feelings. 

The book provides a unique and authentic look into the lives of gay characters and the struggles they face with acceptance. This resonates with me as I have also experienced similar situations in my own life, as I often feel judged and rejected by loved ones because of my sexual orientation.

The book imparts a crucial lesson: that to truly understand and accept one another, we must not allow sexual orientation to serve as a basis for dismissal or discrimination. 

Aloha Candy Hearts by Anthony Bidulka

Aloha Candy Hearts opens with a brutal strangulation in an airport parking lot, an event that serves as the catalyst for a scavenger hunt through the rich and storied history of Saskatoon. The treasure map, consisting of a series of cryptic riddles, leads the reader on a journey through the city’s past, expertly researched and rendered with a sense of veracity that immerses the reader in the world of the story.

As the investigation unfolds, Bidulka deftly unravels a web of blackmail and murder, leaving the reader guessing until the very end. But it is the personal journey of the protagonist, Russell, that elevates Aloha Candy Hearts to a work of true literary merit. As a gay person, Russell is forced to confront his own desires and insecurities as he grapples with the possibility of loving two men simultaneously. The author does a great job of exploring the complexities of love and relationships within the LGBTQ+ community as it is not often that a mystery novel deals with such personal and emotional issues. Bidulka manages to do so in a way that adds to the overall story rather than detracting from it.

I also loved that Bidulka expertly incorporated metafictional elements, references to other mystery writers, and a playful tone that adds to the richness of the narrative. The emotional climax of the novel, set against the backdrop of a wedding, serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and joy that can be found in the face of adversity.  In conclusion, Bidulka has crafted a novel that is at once a compelling mystery, a love story, and a meditation on the human condition.

Murder on Camac by Joseph R.G. DeMarco

As a gay reader, I was thrilled to dive into Murder on Camac a mystery novel featuring private investigator Marco Fontana. Set in Philadelphia’s vibrant gayborhood, the book follows Marco as he delves into the murder of Helmut Brandt, a writer who believed that Pope John Paul I had been assassinated.

The author guides the reader on a gripping journey through the city, from the seedy corners of hustler bars to the lofty heights of the Archdiocesan headquarters. Marco’s unique approach to the investigation follows his principle that “subterfuge to solve a case is one thing, but games between friends or potential friends or lovers is not how I work,” adds a refreshing change to the typical representation of a private investigator.

What stood out to me the most, was the way in which DeMarco portrays Marco’s personal journey as a gay man. A decade earlier, Marco had seen Brandt at a book signing at Giovanni’s Room, and was deeply moved by Brandt’s enormous charisma and self-acceptance. This encounter had helped Marco gather the courage to come out, and this personal connection to the case makes the story feel more relatable to the LGBT fanbase.

DeMarco’s writing is rich and evocative, capturing the vibrant and eclectic nature of Philadelphia’s gayborhood. The dialogue is witty and well-written, and the characters are colorful and memorable. Murder on Camac is a well-crafted mystery that offers a unique perspective on the gay experience and is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen

Lev AC Rosen’s latest novel, Lavender House, is a thrilling and thought-provoking read set in 1950s San Francisco. The story follows Evander Mills, a police officer who is forced to hide his homosexuality, as he is fired from his job and forced to confront the harsh reality of being gay in a society that does not accept it. Just as Evander is about to give up hope, he is approached by Pearl Velez, a mysterious woman with a secret, who hires him to investigate the murder of her partner Irene Lamontaine. As Evander delves deeper into the case, he finds himself living among the residents of Lavender House, a mansion where all the residents are queer, and all have a motive for murder.

Rosen does a fantastic job of weaving together the plot and the characters’ personal lives, making the story feel relatable and emotionally resonant. The characters are complex and well-developed, and the dialogue is sharp and witty. One of the strongest elements of the book is the way it handles the theme of being gay at a time when society does not accept it. Evander’s struggles and the struggles of the minor characters are depicted with sensitivity and realism, making the book a powerful and thought-provoking read.

Overall, Lavender House is a thrilling and well-written crime novel that is sure to delight fans of the genre. Rosen’s writing is sharp, and the story is a captivating and emotional journey that is not to be missed.

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