Book Reviews

Beau's Dilemma: A Gay Tale of Science, Seduction & Murder in Sydney by Patrick Doyle

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 04-May-2021

Book Blurb

Sam receives a desperate call from ex-lover and soul-mate Max who now lives in Australia. Max is a scientist and he’s developed a molecule he claims will change the way the world works. But he believes 'dark forces' want him to fail and maybe even die. He's afraid and begs Sam to come down.

Concerned for Max's mental health as much as his physical safety, Sam does. When he lands in Sydney, however, Max has disappeared. But he's left a trail of cryptic messages that lead Sam from Sydney across to the Blue Mountains and up to the tropical north.

Along the way Sam meets two very different men. Trevor’s a surfer, carefree and easy going. Dominic’s a researcher and much more reserved. Each has a secret, both want to help, but only one wishes him well. Sam has a secret too, but he doesn’t know it.

Battling threats, betrayal, and outright assaults, Sam searches for Max and for his missing research. At every turn he must chose the right path, make the right decision, and trust the right man. Or he'll lose everything, including love.

 

Book Review

While Beau’s Dilemma is categorized as a mystery, this review will not be one also! So, for readers drawn to stories honoring the fast pace and period flavor of the noir genre, Beau’s Dilemma is highly recommended. From the opening line: “The red flags were up but he couldn’t help himself.” I neatly crossed the border into that world. Hammett, Spillane, Christie – make room for Mr. Doyle’s newest tome. True to that classic form, the plot is highly stylized and tightly episodic, leaving me unsure which of the many loose strings will be pulled, thus opening the resolutionary parachute. Keeping me on the qui vivre (i.e., alert, as we pseudo-intellects are wont to say), “remembered” clues and unexpected recurrent characters are exemplary signposts. Such wonderful old tools (No, not me!) keep readers on edge.

 

As Beau’s Dilemma is a mystery, the above blurb is sufficiently revelatory of the plot for our purpose: rather, let’s examine other aspects of the book. As I have never been to Australia, Mr. Doyle’s local details are colorfully engaging – whether or not they are even as accurate as a travel brochure for Narnia (to which I also have never been!). The geographic descriptions work, so does it really matter?

 

 All the characters are fully drawn – including Max, who remains off stage throughout. Sam is genuinely endearing, though his situation is also constantly exciting, as if from the school of Perilous Pauline. Sam’s acquaintances, both the evil ones trying to f—k him, and those sexually attractive ones, also trying to f—k him, provide sufficient dimension to aid projecting the plot’s forward momentum.

 

Huzzah for the use of Australian slang, brightly adding to the atmospherics without generating difficulties for me.

 

Oddly, while sex between the characters is somewhat rampant, as would be expected in our current time, the sparsity of details, appropriate to the early origins of the noir genre, are rather less explicitly mechanical and seem more relational, almost chaste. Sex lite? But, despite my own dirty bent, it all works very satisfactorily.

 

Mr. Doyle’s use of coloration is lovely; “… he swerved madly through the hallucinogenic forest of candy-colored umbrella and towels.” And his humor is a nicely added seasoning: “‘So what’s the code?” Spitting out the fibers and glue, Sam looked up at him. ‘Two words.’ ‘What are they?’ ‘Fuck you.’”.

 

To be balanced with my criticism, I should note that during tight action scenes, such as a fist-fight or a kidnapping, the generated adrenaline results in a tendency to read more quickly, risking missing some detail in the descriptive language. It’s a conundrum, and even Mr. Doyle hasn’t solved this problem for me. But it’s such a minor happenstance here.

 

This is my third date with Patrick Doyle, and as each has raised my expectations, I have not been disappointed, Beau’s Dilemma is a winner!

 

 

 

 

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

 

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 174 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-May-2021
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Beaus-Dilemma-Science-Seduction-Murder-ebook/dp/B08Y816JJQ