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The Man Everybody Was Afraid of (Dave Brandstetter, Book 4)
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The Man Everybody Was Afraid of (Dave Brandstetter #4)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  193 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Police Chief Ben Orton had a gift for making enemies. When his body was found, head smashed in, the people of his seaside domain were shocked--less because of the gruesome murder than because someone had finally dared to cross Ben Orton.
Paperback, 181 pages
Published December 1st 1981 by Holt McDougal (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 314)
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James Thane
When a small-town police chief named Ben Orton is killed, the P.D., which includes his son Jerry, wastes no time at all actually investigating the crime. Instead, they immediately arrest a gay rights activist who had threatened to kill the chief and whose tote bag was found next to the body. Case closed.

Not for insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter, though. His company, Medallion insurance, is on the hook for $75,000, a fair amount of money in 1978, when this book was first published. Dave ne
Rosa, really

BR with la bella Sofia.

And look, I have a copy of the actual book!

 photo 20150202_125424_zpsxvta0dk8.jpg

Nick is terribly excited. Terribly.


This one had Dave chasing his tail and me chasing after him. Everyone had a motive for murder, everyone had possibility and than WHAM. All done in Hansen's usual impeccable succinct style as always.

On the personal side Dave is still chasing, not so sure where he is. His relationship with his father keeps unfolding bit by bit. Not so easy to have it cut and dried. label something and put it in a box. People are complicated.

BR with Rosa

4,4 stars!

As always, a superb writing and a good done mystery.
Bill  Kerwin

The fourth adventure of death-claims investigator David Brandstetter. Sheriff Orton has been bludgeoned to death, but is the outrageous gay activist whose knapsack was found near the body really responsible? There are many other suspects, including the adulterous sheriff's wife, the old-school homosexual rights advocate, and the young black man the sheriff framed in a marijuana bust when he found the young man was dating his daughter. Throw in some pre-Columbian artifacts of mysterious origin, a
Edina Rose
4.5 stars

So far, probably one of my fav of the series. The mystery is good, and Dave's personal life is difficult. His dad died, and his relationship with Doug is not working. Doug is not exactly happy with him and he.. strays, repetitively. At the beginning, Doug hid it, he lied, he kept the pretence. But in this book, he does not bother anymore. Dave meets a young journalist intern, a black guy called Cecil, who is 30 years younger. They have great chemistry but it seems Dave is just going to
Bad people and sad people. The melancholic mood reminds me a bit of the Scandinavian mysteries I used to read.
This is the fourth in the Dave Brandstetter murder mysteries and in this one we find our intrepid death claims investigator investigating the death of bigoted chief of police Ben Orton's who head was smashed in with a flowerpotThe person who is arrested for the deed is a young gay activist, but evidence is flimsy at best and the officials don't seem to care. Dave is also having personal problems, his father Carl is on his deathbed in the hospital, and Dave who loves his father seems to be scared ...more
Just once, I'd like to see Brandstetter tackling a case involving straight people. In a way, it's great that there are gay people of all stripes in these books. In another way, it's not like a gay detective has to work with gay people all the time. Not all his cases are going to be about gay people, unless he deliberately only represents gay people, which would be a whole different story.

Still, I love how matter-of-factly gay Dave is, how it's just a part of him. I like the fact that he has a fa
Angel Pedroza
I remember reading this book when it was first published in the 70's as a young gay 20 something. This author and this series meant a great deal to me because it gave me a positive gay hero in popular culture. I am currently rereading these books and they have held up to popular tastes and sensibilities. This book is great.
Good mystery. Found the look at 1970s gay rights activism very interesting. I wish all of these were longer (and had more conclusion; they end so abruptly).
All in shades of grey. Almost 4 stars. The plot is important but the conclusion of the tale isn't. There are bad guys, worst bad guys and guys that are bad because of their jobs or their moral compass.

Brandsetter's live is in limbo: his father is slowly dying, his relationship with Doug has ended and both are in the process of moving on but still clinging to what might have been if only.

The case of the murderer Police Chief only accentuate the holes in Dave's life. No sleep, no love, soon no f
Deanna Against Censorship
Another excellent mystery from Joseph Hansen. His writing style is beautiful. He paints pictures in the reader's mind without being verbose.

I like Dave. He is a puzzle solver. I wish he was more successful in his love life. I do not like Doug. Maybe later books will change that feeling but for now I want a real love for Dave. No matter what is happening or not happening in Dave's personal life, it does not interfere with the case. The mystery is primary in a Hansen book. Enjoyable read with int
This whole series is a masterpiece
I get a little frustrated with Dave always putting his own life on the back burner to solve a murder. Living people need attention too. But I guess he wouldn't be Dave if he didn't do that. It's one trait I'd like to see him grow out of as the series progresses though. The mystery was your average connect-the-dots. Not much suspense or sense of urgency to it. The crooked-cops-just-for-the-hell-of-it were angering, given the current events in Ferguson.
Poor Dave. I feel as though he is put through the wringer on this one. I felt a little confused throughout this story, which may have just been me or may have been due his lack of sleep and, therefore, his somewhat circuitous investigation. I'm glad there's another one because I'm curious to see what happens with Dave's personal life next.
Lil' Grogan
The portrayal of gay characters and Dave, outside of his job are what drew my interest. However, the mystery itself..maybe because of the descriptive style, lost my interest.
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Joseph Hansen (1923–2004) was an American author of mysteries. The son of a South Dakota shoemaker, he moved to a California citrus farm with his family in 1936. He began publishing poetry in the New Yorker in the 1950s, and joined the editorial teams of gay magazines ONE and Tangents in the 1960s. Using the pseudonyms Rose Brock and James Colton, Hansen published five novels and a collection of s ...more
More about Joseph Hansen...

Other Books in the Series

Dave Brandstetter (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter, #1)
  • Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter, #2)
  • Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter, #3)
  • Skinflick (Dave Brandstetter, #5)
  • Gravedigger (Dave Brandstetter, #6)
  • Nightwork (Dave Brandstetter, #7)
  • The Little Dog Laughed (Dave Brandstetter, #8)
  • Early Graves (Dave Brandstetter, #9)
  • Obedience (Dave Brandstetter, #10)
  • The Boy Who Was Buried this Morning (Dave Brandstetter, #11)
Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter, #1) Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter, #2) Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter, #3) Skinflick (Dave Brandstetter, #5) Gravedigger (Dave Brandstetter, #6)

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“Five, six, seven eight-," Cecil grinned.
"-Gay is just as good as straight," Dave said.”
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