Scott Sherman’s “First You Fall,” which won the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Mystery was followed by “Second You Sin.” “Third You Die” it is Sherman’s completion of his announced trilogy. It appeared in trade paperback in September 2012, published by Kensington Books.
Scott Sherman is a popular fiction writer with a wide following of readers. The Kindle edition of this book was at one time number 53 of the 100 most popular titles available at the Kindle store, which attests to the popularity of this author.
If you are not familiar with the Kevin Connor Mysteries, here is a short plot synopsis. Kevin Connor is gay, 5’3″ tall, weighs 125 pounds, is half Jewish, and has ADHD. He lives in New York City, where the book is set in the present time. His boyfriend is a New York City police detective with a son named Rafi. He was a call-boy who now works for his mother’s popular television show, “Sophie’s Voice.” He meets an adult film star who is a guest on the show. The guest swears he knows dangerous facts which would be big news. The man is later found to be missing. The search for this missing porn star, and where it takes our hero, is the story of “Third You Die.”
Even though it has 344 pages, the trade paperback edition is formatted in such a way to be an easy read. Also helping the reader is the fact that the book is divided into 45 chapters. This could facilitate reading this as a commuter – or during periods of free time throughout the day.
I found that I needed a few hours each day over a snowy weekend to finish the book.
It is written in a breezy style which is heavy on introspection by the protagonist. We read a simple conversation between Kevin and his flaming friend, Freddy, for example, which can take pages to complete because of the interior dialogue in Kevin’s mind about dozens of digressions before the talk ends. For some, this might cause the reader to scan over pages in order to keep the story going.
If one had to pick, I would say the author is too concerned with age, wrinkles, and how these things make men “ugly.” Descriptions of physical imperfections of ageing and the lack of attractiveness in the not- so- young appear frequently. It makes me wonder if the middle-aged men he disparages are members of his reading public, which certainly complicates the issue.
There are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep the reader interested. Will Tony and Kevin stay together? What scenes will Kevin’s mother cause? What about sexy Lucas, Andrew, Cody, the mysterious KLN? All these and more subplots keep the machinery whirring.
One of my favorite comments in the book is when the author has the protagonist describe the unnamed Michael Bloomberg as “[T]he city’s current mayor, a pretty popular Independent who’d risen to prominence in the business world before entering politics … ”
The solution to the mystery is a gory shocker, which may be a bit too much for the faint of heart. However, like any true Romance, there is the hero’s journey, as he deals with evil and triumphs in the end, with an extravagantly happy, gay ending [a touch of magic?] which may or may not ring true for the reader. For fans of Kevin Connor, and of Scott Sherman, they would be very pleased with the happy ending.