25 March 2015

Glitter (The Full Nelson #2) by Jeff Erno

 When Detective Chris Nelson catches a police call at a gay bar, he finds a murdered drag queen in the alley behind the building. Andrew Brooks, the victim's co-worker at Bambi's, claims he found her. Because she is sprinkled in the same red glitter Andrew uses in his act, Nelson takes him in for questioning.

Forensics clear Andrew but reveal the victim was into hardcore kink. Following a trail of evidence, Nelson arrives at his next suspect: Andrew's brother. Todd Brooks is an avowed neo-Nazi racist homophobe, but Andrew is still devastated. After the near-mistake with Andrew, Nelson isn't ready to rush to judgment again. Taking his time, he digs deeper, intent on apprehending the actual murderer.
Mr. Erno has once again delivered a well-crafted police drama featuring Detective Chris Nelson. A year has passed since the previous novel and Chris and his work partner, Geri have become quite the cohesive team. At home, his marriage to Ethan continues to thrive and their sex life seems to have heated up since the last novel – or maybe I’m more accustomed to the cutaway nature of the sex scenes this time around. I should note that while this is the second book in the series, you do not have to read book one to enjoy it. Glitter is a stand-alone book, but readers of Secrets will likely enjoy seeing Alex and Shane again.

As the homicide detective on call, Chris catches a case investigating the brutal murder of a drag queen. While the initial evidence at the scene would seem to make Andrew/Glitter the prime suspect, Chris is able to determine almost immediately that Andrew is not the killer. Much like an investigation in real life, the clues lead Chris and Geri in several directions, thus making it difficult to figure out “who done it” before Mr. Erno reveals who the guilty party actually is. The author does such a good job of laying false leads and creating plausible suspects that just like in Secrets, I didn’t see it coming. This made for a both frustrating and exciting experience for me as in essence, I accompanied Chris as he investigated and solved Roxie’s murder.

Aside from the criminal investigation aspect of Glitter, one of the things I really enjoyed was the look into the world of drag. Living in Key West, I have attended several drag shows and hung out with a few drag queens in the decade I’ve been here. Despite that, learning how Andrew saw himself and the dichotomy of his/her personality was fascinating. Whereas Andrew was shy, reserved and insecure in who he was, Glitter was outgoing, confident, and, as Andrew admitted to himself, she had bigger balls than he did. Donning his Glitter persona enabled Andrew to nurture his feminine side and do so in a way that built his confidence. His romantic dilemma of finding a man who understood his need to be masculine at times and feminine at other times surprised me, yet made a lot of sense when I considered the gay men I’ve befriended over the years; their tendency to be either a top or a bottom would seem to increase the difficulty of finding someone who was open to switching roles. As such, I was so happy that Andrew found someone by the end of the book – even if I never saw that someone coming either. The resolution between Andrew and his family was better than I hoped for. Yet again, Mr. Erno has managed to keep me on my toes with another wonderful read. I’m looking forward to starting Teacher’s Pet next.


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