Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fishing for corpses

Well, back when I posted about another book by Mark Richard Zubro, I mentioned that I had 3 books by him checked out. One ended up having no renewals left, but I figured out I'd read it a while back. The other, Hook, Line & Homicide, I figured out that I don't remember reading at all. And since it isn't due back for another week, I read it.

Paul Turner, his sons Brian and Jeff, his lover Ben,  his former lover Ian, and his detective partner Fenwick and family, all go on a fishing trip in rural Canada. (Also in tow is nonagenarian neighbor, Mrs. Talucci, who leaves by boat to parts unknown for the duration of the trip.)

Anyway, Paul and Fenwick end up meeting Scarth Krohn, the local town bully while out for dinner. Scarth at the time is busy harassing the local First Americans in the restaurant parking lot. After Paul and Fenwick break up the fight, they become targets of Scarth and company's bullying, including a break in at their houseboat back in the marina.

Two days later, Paul's wheelchair bound son Jeff fishes Scarth's corpse out of the lake next to the houseboat.

Ian, the intrepid investigative reporter, starts digging around for clues, after finding out that 6 similar suspicious drownings have occurred on the lake, and interest is up in town, since Scarth's very affluent father is demanding an investigation. The local police chief is exceptionally racist and homophobic, and the local Ontario Provincial Police detachment is reluctant to do much because of the chief trying to get them removed from town. Said chief "rounds up the usual suspects (Billing Morningsky, the First Nations kid being harrassed earlier; Ralph, a kid who spent his youth being harassed by Scarth; and even Ian, who's been asking questions around town) and warns Paul and Fenwick not to investigate.

Needless to say, this provides impetus for the dynamic duo to get involved on the side, which tends to make the town seem like a an isolated Lovecraftian village well versed at hiding secrets. Mind you, the secrets are more drug dealing and internet porn than ancient gods from outside time and space, but....

Anyway, by the end we find out exactly what happened, and we know why Scarth died and why Scarth's on again off again girlfriend was foud beaten to death not far from where Scarth's body probably entered the lake. As well as a lesson on why gay folks should take self defense.

Really, the part that both amazed and amused me came towards the end when things like DOMA, the marriage bans, and even Matthew Shepherd get discussed. The publication date on this one is 2007, so it's nice to note that much has changes in a relatively short amount of time. In many ways, it's a bit like reading the middle three books in Tales of the City, wherein what was current at the time of the writing isn't so much anymore. While the issues might remain, they're no longer quite as immediate or as strongly opposed as they were at the time.

I'm kind of wondering if, had either of Zubro's series gone on a few more years, would the main characters have gotten involved with murder at their gay weddings?