Dead As a Doornail

Overview

Newly wealthy ex-hairdresser Stan Kraychik buys the last unrenovated brownstone in Boston's fabulously chic South End only to have the renovations held up by a freak April snowstorm-and the murder of the young, attractive contractor. Because the victim bears some resemblance to Stan himself, the police think he might have been the intended target and want to leave town while they look for the killer. Instead Stan begins to snoop around on his own, discovering a web of secrets and jealousies that someone has ...

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Overview

Newly wealthy ex-hairdresser Stan Kraychik buys the last unrenovated brownstone in Boston's fabulously chic South End only to have the renovations held up by a freak April snowstorm-and the murder of the young, attractive contractor. Because the victim bears some resemblance to Stan himself, the police think he might have been the intended target and want to leave town while they look for the killer. Instead Stan begins to snoop around on his own, discovering a web of secrets and jealousies that someone has killed to protect-and the contractor's murder is only the beginning.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this insular mystery, Boston is reduced to a tiny enclave teeming with gay men, sexual tension and odd motives for the murder of a handsome young building contractor. Stan Kraychik (last seen in Time to Check Out, 1997) once cut hair and trained to be a cop, but the death of his lover has left him wealthy enough to purchase a crumbling brownstone on a desirable South End streetcorner. With riches, however, come troubles. Stan hires contractor Tim Shaughnessy to fix up the place. When Stan discovers Tim, who looks a lot like him, dead in his proud wreck of a house, Lieutenant Branco suspects that Stan was the intended victim. Meanwhile, out in the neighborhood, a coffee-shop employee named Chip buffs his pretty young body and draws Stan's attention. Chip is also propositioned by Myron, who owns a store, and photographed by Thorin, who owns another store and is married to Salena, a cutthroat realtor who happens to have been dead Tim's landlord. It turns out that nearly everyone managed to be in Stan's house sometime early in the morning, just before a sudden snowstorm hit and just before Tim was killed. Michaels isn't terribly concerned with realism as he puts a madcap spin on this mystery set in the urban homosexual milieu. But his plot tends toward narrative claustrophobia, and his ending is rushed, unprepared for and preachy. (Mar.)
Library Journal
When series sleuth (and former hairdresser) Stan Kraychik reaches the run-down South End (Boston) property he's renovating, he discovers his cute building contractor dead. Detective Branco warns that Stan may have been the real target; nevertheless, flighty Stan promptly revs into sleuthing mode, questions neighborhood characters, follows unsuspecting suspects, "steals" taped police interviews, and leaps to unwarranted conclusions. Bitchy asides to best friend Nicole, snide remarks about the gay gym scene, and Stan's unrequited yearning for the straight Branco lighten the proceedings with humor. One of the better titles in the series.
Kirkus Reviews
Moneyed ex-hairdresser Stan Kraychik, who's now added ex-cop-in-training to his r‚sum‚ (despite his sharpshooting prowess, he's officially on a leave of absence from the Boston police academy and knows that the homophobia he's seen on the force will keep him from returning), has started rehabbing a South End brownstone. With the help of his dishy rookie contractor, Tim Shaughnessy, Stan dreams of opening a guesthouse that'll revitalize the neighborhood. But the project is brought to a halt as abruptly as is Tim, whom Stan finds lying at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Accident, says Lt. Vito Branco. Murder, retorts Stan, whose next brain wave is that the killer must be one of his neighbors on Tremont Street. Sure enough, Tim's girlfriend Angie; his landlady, buff realtor Salena Hightower; Salena's husband, kitchen-techseller Thorin Hightower; Waspish retro tableware maven Myron Kratz; and Chip Holton, the Adonis of the South End Kinesiological Society (SEKS), are all connected to Tim—the last three as closely as biology and commerce can bring them—though it takes endless rounds of Tremont Street, and a spot of illegal eavesdropping on Branco's interrogation tapes, to put Stan on the track of a well-nigh invisible clue. Jokey, flighty, featherweight, and a notch below Time to Check Out (1996): not for any except devotees of malicious pansexual gossip.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312206444
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1999
  • Series: Stan Kraychik Mystery Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

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