Book Reviews

Dead as a Doornail (Stan Kraychik Mystery 6) by Grant Michaels at ReQueered Tales

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by ParisDude on 16-August-2022

Book Blurb

Newly wealthy psychologist-by-training, hairstylist-by-experience 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 inside his structurally unsound brownstone.

Because the contractor resembled Stan, Lt. Vito Branco of the Boston Police Department thinks Stan might have been the intended target. While Branco wants Stan to leave town while he investigates the murder, Stan has ideas of his own. Looking into the death, Stan discovers that underneath the well-kept facade of his glamorous neighborhood lies a web of ill-kept secrets, jealousies, and resentments.

In the midst of all of it is something that motivated someone to murder, and Stan must find out who – and what – before the murderer strikes again.



First edition published by Stonewall Inn Mysteries, July 1999.

A Lambda Literary Awards Finalist in 1998, this new edition includes a foreword by Graeme Cheater.

Book Review

Stan Kraychik is at his best in this new instalment of the “gay Boston hairdresser turned amateur sleuth” series created by Grant Michaels—and what a treat this one was! I think it’s my absolute favorite so far! Quirky, funny, fast-paced, with Stan as stubborn and übersassy as ever, with his unrequited love interest, the 200 percent straight Lieutenant Branco (even though Stan would deny he has a crush on the man, but come on, the chemistry!), as hot and forbidding as usual… I loved every second and finished the book in only two evenings, so eager was I to get to the bottom of the murder investigation.


Er, did I say “gay hairdresser” in the previous paragraph? Sorry, my mistake. It should be “gay former hairdresser”. Because yes, Stan has quit his job at his friend Nicole’s hair salon because… he’s now too rich to work. Yep, he recently inherited a few million bucks, no less, which he promptly invested in real estate. Bidding in a somewhat shady city auction he purchased a promising South End property. That is, it looks promising to him, fabulously situated as it is for the future Bed and Breakfast he’s planning to open. To everyone else, his new acquisition is just a dump, a hovel, a crumbling heap of rubbish that makes them question his sanity. Luckily, there’s Tim Shaughnessy, a cute, young, ambitious contractor whom Stan hired to transform that shanty into the leisure palace for the wealthy gay visitor to Boston Stan is dreaming of. And at the beginning of the novel, he leaves his apartment in the middle of an unexpected spring blizzard for a meeting in situ with exactly that cute, young contractor. Alas, when he reaches the place, he discovers… a dead cute, young contractor in his house.


Vito Branco, duly notified that his amateur sleuth nemesis has stumbled upon yet another body, arrives shortly after and strictly forbids Stan to get involved in the investigation, if an investigation there is. The dead young man looks suspiciously as if he had slipped in the wobbly staircase and fallen to his death. But the man who can convince Stan that a dead person has died a natural death, and more importantly, that he shouldn’t nose around, well, that man still has to be born. So, our ex-hair stylist starts walking around the neighborhood asking questions. He meets a set of highly quaint people: fitness aficionado Chip, a handsome, young guy with the hottest bubble butt ever beheld; gay diva cum shop owner Myron; pretty real estate agent Salena with the horrid high hair; her breathtakingly handsome ebony-skinned husband Thorin with the unusual-for-straight guys hobby; elusive hairdresser Angie. Stan sniffs around like a hunting dog that has smelled blood, asking blunt questions left, right, and center, until… he realizes he’s risking his own life…


I repeat, this must be the funniest giggle-to-laugh-out-loud book of the series, which is saying a lot. Stan is in top form, at his sassiest ever, with a killer repartee and words slipping out of his mouth faster than he can think that really made me snort, chuckle, and holler more than once. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who can’t help but like, nay love Stan Kraychik. What I always liked about this character is his ability to indulge in self-derision, a trait I always find endearing. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, he has no unhealthy serf-like respect for authorities, self-proclaimed “important” people, hierarchy, and more often than not, even though he’s a very polite person, he thinks that beating around the bush is unnecessary. If Stan is as gay as a goose, his questions are straighter than Vito Branco himself, often shot from the hip and so out-of-the-blue that people tend to answer.


The plot was well constructed, hints were strewn in each chapter, some to give the readers a good lead, others to take them astray, just as a solidly thought-out murder mysteries should be. A real delight for those like me who have a particular fondness for amateur sleuths, the quirkier, the better. I can only recommend this book!





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


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 349 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 20-April-2021
Price $5.95 ebook
Buy Link