(85) A psychotic killer and new love

Title: Blue by Russ Gregory
Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
288 Pages
Genre: Gay Fiction/Mystery

I received this book as an advanced electronic galley from netgalley.com It was released on Oct. 11, 2011

Synopsis: One-hundred-and-three-year-old nursing home resident Ruth Brookes holds the key to an unsolved series of murders, and what she knows has never been more important. A psychotic killer is once again stalking gay men in the streets of Austin.

Meanwhile, Matt Bell has finally decided to break out of the social isolation he’s lived in since being shot by the still-at-large killer, and meets the handsome, broody, and shy Thatcher. Both men are fighting their own demons as the killings start again. Soon the body count is rising and their friends are dropping like flies.

Will Ruth give up her secrets in time to stop the madman before Matt and Thatcher find themselves in the crosshairs of his rifle? Only Ruth knows for sure, because life is seldom black and white—more often it is just shades of blue.

Review: I wish the book was as straight forward as the synopsis! I really liked this book but the beginning was a bit confusing. Too many characters were introduced without much reason as to why.  I started getting confused as to who was talking and who wasn't - even though the chapters indicated who was supposed to be talking there would be other characters voices thrown in.  Gregory seemed to pull it together about a third of the way in and the book took on a life of its own.

Who was killing the gay men in Austin? Could it be the gorgeous and broody Thatcher or is it someone else?  The police have no leads and can't tie all the murders together with the exception of ballistics.  Finally with the help of the FBI they start to piece together when the attacks usually occurred but not why there is often big gaps in time between shootings.

Its a great story once Gregory starts focusing on the main characters, and the main mystery.  The descriptions of the harrowing deaths of people from AIDS in the 80's is a painful reminder of what so many went through.  Its a good debut that could have used some fine tuning but hopefully he will work that out by his next book!