Only in Key West
Kenneth D. Michaels
La Mancha Press (2017)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (09/17)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Only in Key West’ by Kenneth D. Michaels on Blogcritics.
“Only in Key West” by Kenneth D. Michaels is the second book in The Nick & Norm Gay Detective Series. Enchanting and thrilling, this story will delight armchair sleuths on a masterful ride through murder and mayhem in the Florida Keys.
After solving a major case, Chicago detectives Nick Scott and Norm Malone take a well deserved vacation, just in time to bring in the New Year–Key West style. Festivities are interrupted when famous entertainer Sho Yu and her fiancé are injured in a tragic accident. Witnessing the scene firsthand, Nick and Norm are quickly recruited by the local police chief to help with the case. As the investigation unfolds, the detectives uncover a slew of mysterious suicides that just don’t add up, and a trail of crime and corruption that give them a run for their money, effectively ending their so-called vacation. Family, secrets, tangled relationships, drag queens and drama, the colorful world of all that is Key West comes alive in this spectacular action-packed thriller.
I had such a fun experience reading this book. While I was definitely expecting an exciting thriller–what I walked away with was that–and so much more!
First off, it was apparent from the beginning that Michaels really enjoyed writing this book. And, while I’m sure a lot of time and energy went into this project with the research, the various stages of writing, planning and publication, etc., the end result feels like it was an effortless excursion. Smooth, free-flowing entertainment–I was captivated from the start!
Michaels writes with a sharp, clever presence that is high on my list of expectations for an entertaining read. Mental gymnastics–you just can’t force humor and witty conversation between characters. In my opinion that can only come naturally.
As to character development, readers meet a variety of colorful characters with equally vibrant personalities. From impossibly annoying to completely loveable, I felt a great connection with each. I totally loved the ongoing dialogue, especially between Nick and Norm, who could probably complete each other’s sentences.
As appealing as the characters are, the setting takes no back seat. Michaels drops readers directly into the heart of Key West. Descriptive and thorough, by the end of the story, I felt like I knew my surroundings and could make my way all around the island.
Being that “Only in Key West” is the second book in a series, I planned on having to do some research to get up to speed with the story, but that was not the case at all. The author provides background information on the characters and their lives prior to Key West in such a way that I felt like I didn’t miss out on anything. At the same time, I don’t think those that read the first story will feel like they are re-reading book one as it relates to the back story–it holds the perfect balance of information for new or returning fans. I will say that the writing style captivated me enough to want to go back and check out the first book in the series, The Gay Detective.
Fans of mystery/thrillers and LGBTQ fiction will thoroughly enjoy “Only in Key West,” by Kenneth D. Michaels. I highly recommend as a five star read!