Book Reviews

A Do-Si-Do with Death (Stan Kraychik Mystery 7) by Grant Michaels at ReQueered Tales

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by ParisDude on 07-September-2022

Book Blurb

When 'Dead as a Doornail' was published in 1998, we thought we’d seen the last of Stan Kraychik. But thanks to persistent sleuthing, a final adventure has been uncovered, sassy quips all at the ready, nary a hair out of place, and now primed for its debut. Yes, Stan is back for one final adventure!

Stan Kraychik has hung up his scissors, traded them in for a Private Eye license. Sometime nemesis, more often friend Boston PD Lt. Vito Branco, has a soft spot for Stan and sends him a tip: snoop around the First Annual Mucho Macho Honcho Competition being held at The Park Plaza Hotel. Paladin, a gay cowboy, has filed a police report that his Collar Tips had been stolen. Paladin, Mistress of Ceremonies Bistany Evans, DJ Colt Remington, seamstress Kitty, and cutie Chester are all Square Dancing … around his questions. After a whole lotta dancin’ and hip twistin’ and general saaa-shayin’ about, stolen jewelry leads to murder. Kraychik has to do a
Do-Si-Do with Death to solve this crime in time for his Memorial Day weekend cookout.

Don’t miss a zany, classic-Kraychik moment. This debut edition features a foreword by Leigh Ann Wallace. A ReQueered Tales Original Publication.


Book Review

After book six of the fabulous murder mysteries featuring Stan Kraychik—Boston’s if not gayest, then at least sassiest and nosiest hair stylist ever—I thought that was it; no more funny-snarky Kraychikisms lighting the path of another inextricable murder. Grant Michaels, the author, had died in 2009, after all, and had published his last novel “Dead as a Doornail” in 1998. But lo and behold, a seventh, last manuscript was apparently well-hidden somewhere; and as soon as it was found, ReQueered Tales had the excellent idea of publishing it posthumously, to my greatest delight.


The plot is just as convoluted as the others (in the good sense of the word). A gay dance thingy is being held in Boston, the very first Annual Mucho Macho Honcho Competition (the name alone is worth the mention), where couple and square dances are performed by swirling, dolled-up pseudo cowboys in tight denim or leather and checkered flannel shirts, to the delight of the onlookers (and the financial satisfaction of the organizers, one suspects; Stan at least does that at once). But where there are so many queens, there’s bound to also be drama. This time, it comes in the unforeseeable form of some missing collar tips (yes, that’s a thing!) that one participant claims have been stolen by one of his competitors. As this seems way below hunky PD Lieutenant Vito Branco’s paygrade and dignity, he hands the case to his old nemesis, former hairdresser become Private Eye, Stan.


As one could expect of such an event—say it slowly, and you’ll get the picture: a cowboy convention; for gay guys; with square dancing; in Boston of all places!—and of Grant Michaels, what Stan stumbles upon is another rich palette of eccentric characters, all painted with loving (or loathing) detail. Paladin, the guy whose collar tips have allegedly been stolen, is hot as hell, and expresses a fierce will to win the competition. His cute all-American dance partner Chester, who stirs painful-sweet memories in Stan’s bosom, alas has a slight health problem that could jeopardize that goal. Then, there’s Kitty the seamstress, Paladin’s main suspect for the theft; Bistany Evans, the woman who works as Mistress of Ceremony, she of the faint-inducing perfume and the fake Wild West accent; hunkier-than-thou Colt Remington, the DJ of the event, who would make the straightest guy swoon; not to mention Fannie Mae Knox, the fabulous all-in-pink drag creature who seems to be the event’s mascot.


It wouldn’t be a Grant Michaels story if, after a first sniff of who’s who, this casting of memorable characters weren’t given a thorough first stir, shake, and shuffle, and if after that, bang, one of them weren’t dead. But of course, that is exactly what happens, and suddenly, Vito is back on the scene, believing Stan will leave it all up to him. Wrong guess, Lieutenant, very wrong guess!


Fortunately, because otherwise the novel would have been way too short. And way too dull. I love Vito Branco, for his dry sneers, spot-on unsuspected sarcasms, and the palpable tension that makes each page sizzle as soon as he finds himself face to face with Stan. But he isn’t the one who puts his powerful imagination to work when a dead body appears; no, Stan is. And those who have read my other reviews of this series already know how I absolutely adore that main character. Yes, he is sometimes quite a walking cliché, as are some of the other side characters; and yes, his sassiness almost always gets him in trouble as surely as unrepented cardinal sins lead a believing Catholic straight to hell. He wouldn’t know what wokeness and political correctness are if they slapped him in the face, either. But let’s be honest for a second—if we queers cannot make fun of ourselves for a bit, and if we cannot laugh about ourselves, I guess we’re doomed.


And that’s what the whole Stan Kraychik series is: unadulterated, unashamed, unapologizing fun. A welcome, amusing, and witty distraction from dreary everyday life, a healthy breather from all that walking around on eggshells that is asked of us nowadays. I will never advocate disrespect or rudeness, but I won’t subscribe to the unwholesome cancel culture and often hypocritical “concernism” either. We can and should stand for a respectful treatment of others, but recognize that fun, as long as it doesn’t hurt others, should be able to make us laugh.


Stan Kraychik never ceases to make me go through the whole spectrum: chuckling, giggling, laughing. He’s irreverent, with a repartee some TV hosts could only dream of, but with a down-to-earth sense of what’s what that enables him to sniff out the culprit, be it the most unsuspected character of them all. The plots, this one included, are not less plausible than others of the amateur sleuth genre; of course, if the mere idea of amateurs finding murderers makes you huff with indignation, you won’t find this book (nor most of the others of the genre) satisfying. But those who, like me, are looking for a fun read, a genuine murder mystery with its lot of misleading hints (and sufficient good ones too), this is a perfect fit.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by ReQueered Tales for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 372 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 24-May-2022
Price $6.14 ebook
Buy Link