Deadly Nightshade (Deadly Mystery, #1)
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Deadly Nightshade (Deadly Mystery #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  637 ratings  ·  66 reviews

Straight cop, gay cop, and a woman who "isn't real." Tom and Stanley are on the trail of a drag queen serial killer, and along the way, they find themselves engaged in a more intimate pursuit, trying to resolve another mystery: their unexpected attraction to one another.
ebook, 221 pages
Published January 2009 by MLR Press
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Cut & Run by Abigail RouxThe Dark Tide by Josh LanyonZero at the Bone by Jane SevilleDeath of a Pirate King by Josh LanyonAdrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon
Best Gay Mystery
28th out of 481 books — 455 voters
Cut & Run by Abigail RouxSticks & Stones by Abigail RouxFish & Chips by Abigail RouxFaith & Fidelity by Tere MichaelsDivide & Conquer by Abigail Roux
Best Gay Cops/ Security Guards/P.I.'s
84th out of 554 books — 839 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,304)
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In the beginning, I found Banis’ humour heavy and passive aggressive. It’s fun to play being politically incorrect, but after too many jokes, you start to sound insecure and annoying. In the end, I found him sharp and hilarious, and sometimes, I frowned, rolled my eyes and laughed at the same quip or extravagance.
Sure, he dropped it a notch in the meantime but it’s also because as heavy and ferocious as the fag and Neanderthal jokes are, it’s just that. Stanley and Tom are two living clichés for...more
Terrible. Terrible. Horrible. UGH.
Worst narrator I've come across so far. I was so displeased with this item I took a refund on it, which I rarely do even if I didn't like the story. I only take a refund when the narrator did a poor job and so far, I've only refunded 2 books, this one included.

The narrator, Roy Wells, sounded like someone's grandpa with a 3-pack-a-day habit and unlikely to last to the end of the book! Several passages were omitted from h...more
Police Detective Tom Danzel takes one look at Stanley Korski and knows right away that he's as queer as a three-dollar bill. He's surprised and not at all happy to be partnered with the smaller man because while he doesn't hate fags he he didn’t want to be partnered with one.

For his part Stanley is just happy he was promoted from uniform cop to Detective. Having worked as a liaison between the Gay Lesbian Council and the police department for a few years he was looking forward to working his fir...more
Elisa Rolle
This is probably one of the less "dreamy" book I read by Victor J. Banis, means that it's pretty down to earth and direct and open, but probably also among my favorite, Lola Dances still has the first place, but this one is very near. I like Victor J. Banis' style, but one thing I almost always regretted, that in the end the two main characters don't walk toward the sunset together; only Lola did, and this is the reason since she is first on my list. Since Deadly Nightshade is only first on a se...more
Erin (PT)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was by far one of the hardest books for me to rate. If I rate it solely on the story/mystery I would totally give it a 4 or 5 as I enjoyed it. To rate it on the romantic aspect between the characters it would earn a resounding 1 only because there are no negative stars possible to give. I say this because Tom is an asshat! And Stanley is a desperate man willing to be taken advantage of, used, treated like shit, thrown away, even after all that he clearly asks for more. Really? That's just s...more
Ije the Devourer of Books
I am so glad I finally started this series!!

This book has been in my to read pile for ages. I love a good mystery and I was hooked from the first page.

The story brings together Stanley (gay cop) and Tom (supposedly straight cop) to solve a mystery. There is a drag queen serial killer on the loose and Stanley is assigned to work with Tom because Stanley being gay knows the ins and outs of the drag scene.

Stanley is great. He is funny, self-effacing and humorous. He is out and proud and doesn't rea...more
This is another gay-themed murder mystery series (aside PsyCop and Adrien English) that piques my curiousity because it seems as getting good reviews. I have to say, as for the first book, it surely captures my interest. The mystery part is intriguing ... I was able to figure out the real murderer but the journey of getting there was good. Of course, in series like this, the characters are very important as well because the story is about them as much as the murder case.

I feel this time the book...more
Josephine Myles
Great mystery story with some fascinating characters. Stanley was absolutely charming as the naive, out and proud rookie detective, and I just loved the chemistry between him and his "straight" partner Tom. The setting is vivid too, trawling through the society of drag queens and their fans in San Francisco. I knew exactly who the murderer was straight away, but it didn't spoil the read in the slightest, as I was still fascinated to see how they'd solve the case.

It's not exactly a romantic read,...more
Excellent m/m mystery set in San Francisco. Gay police rookie Stanley must be the perfect guy to work on solving murders committed by a drag queen, right? While the SFPD thinks so, straight cop Tom, who gets stuck with Stanley as a partner, is not at all convinced.
Valentina Heart
This one was another surprise. I could have gone without the case, and frankly, if it were just the two of them with their banter and jokes this likely could have been a 5 star read for me. I really enjoyed it and I can't wait to read the next one.
Edina Rose
2.5 stars

In order to solve a murder case where the killer appears to be a drag queen, Stanley, an openly and "very" gay newly appointed homicide cop, is partnered with Tom, a straight & experienced homicide cop who is supposed to be the best of the best.

While working together, Stanley stirs something in Tom and very straight Tom ends up being attracted to Stanley.

The general idea in this story, I like: cops, gay-for-you, murder mystery. But the actual execution of the story was not as good...more
Lexi Ander
Apr 21, 2011 Lexi Ander rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lexi by: lynn
Shelves: mystery, favorites
This has to be one of the most fun murder mysteries that I have ever read. Stanly Koski is the greenest, naive rookie that I have ever read about. Our straight, slightly homophobic, “bestest” detective Tom Danzel thinks the only issue he has to deal with is an affirmative action partner.

Tom gave him a suspicious look. “Stanley, you’ve never actually worked a homicide investigation, right?”

“No, but how hard can it be? You collect all the clues and you put them together, and voila. I have read a
3.4 stars, not quite enough to round up to 4.

For the most part, this was breezy and fun.

Representative paragraph:

"Tom was afraid to look, afraid he’d catch the fucking faggot checking out his buns. Which was exactly what Stanley was doing, in fact, thinking that they were quite splendid indeed, such a lovely baroque shape to them, not the little melony type that did nothing for him. He liked buns with some substance to them, something to hang onto when the action got going. And they were hard, t...more
Pia Veleno
At first the stereotypically flaming Stanley bugged me, but his character was actually quite cute and humorous, and a good match up for "If I keep saying I'm straight, I'll stay that way" Tom. The comments about drag vs transgender also made me want to argue with the book, but eventually the difference was clarified for Mr. Straight Cop.

The one-sidedness of the relationship frustrated me, but seemed to fit the characters and the story. When I say it frustrated me, that was a good thing because i...more
Up to this date, I've read the first 5 books of this series and I have just one word. Wow.
Though there are many other cop/detective series in my shelves with the same number of stars, that doesn't mean that they're at the same level. These deserve a couple of added stars. Why? Because damn this man can write!

These books made completely interested, made me feel what the characters were feeling, made me think about their points of view-it made me think! There are no happy endings and no 'Iloveyou...more
This book was not at all what I expected. It was at times hilariously funny and other times masterly insightful. This book defies typical genre casting. It is in it's own category of humor/mystery/suspense/romance/social commentary and all done well.

It starts out sit-com like, so if you can't laugh at stereotypes then this book isn't for you. The author does not stay here, but evolves as the characters get to know each other, but this kind of humor pops up through out the story. I LOVED it, but...more
Mercedes Hightower
This book is the definition of the saying "so bad it's good" this book was so awful and I absolutely LOVED every minute of it. I went in expecting a fast paced, suspenseful murder mystery but instead I got a book that was a mash up of dime store pulp fiction, film nior, 1970s porn and just many other awful things that are great because of there awfulness. Some of the conversations throughout this book were just amazingly funny and just so bad, here's an example:

“Coca Cola eyes?” Tom laughed alou...more
I liked this book. I like these characters. Tom the knight in (slightly tarnished) shiny armor, Stanley the smart, feisty gay guy who makes the gay work for him. Some of the premises are a bit of a stretch, so if you like your cop fic stunningly accurate read something else. I also liked that the guys are very human, very flawed, and the "romantic" part of the story is not an easy HEA. I strongly suggest you have book two, "Deadly Wrong" handy to leap right into. (I'm glad I did!)
DNF - 50%

This book fell completely flat for me. The mystery part bored me to death and I did not connect with either of the MCs. So I'd rather stop right now and move on to another book.
Christy Stewart
Gay cop, straight cop?

Could have been so funny.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristy Maitz
Story plot was really interesting but author made drastically mistake with both main characters. Tom who is really normal straight guy get a new police partner Stanley who is new to police, little, too cute and to openly gay. That makes Tom really uncomfortable from the start.

If I am honest I can understand Tom a little. Even if he could be wrong about his sexuality it could be done more slowly. But no, not for Tom who is directly pushed into the gay scene and into drag queen scene. It’s little...more
4 stars

I have read more books about a straight cop/gay cop relationship in the past two months than I ever have and it seems like I've read every scenario possible. Until this book. This is the first straight cop/gay cop story I've read where the gay cop is very open and proud about being gay and everyone in the police force is well aware of him being a self proclaimed queen. It threw my completely off but not in a bad way. I loved Stanley's humor and at first a lot of it took me off guard becau...more
Pamela Craft Jenewein
Apr 10, 2011 Pamela Craft Jenewein rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Pamela by: All Romance ebooks
Shelves: m-m-stories
It’s a brisk humorous tale full of charm and nuance. The uncomplicated suspenseful plot is compelling as Stanley Korski and Tom Danzel begin their first case as a team. The anxiety comes in the form of Tom’s rather composed homophobia; mostly fearing co-workers will assume he too prefers the company of men. Yet, Tom easily taunts Stanley about his effeminate demeanor and gayness. All the while Stanley refers to Tom’s hulky figure and attitude as Neanderthal then frequently drops sexual innuendos...more
In this first of the Deadly mysteries that introduce us to homocide detectives Tom Danzel and Stanley Korski. Stanley is a newly appointed in homocide partnered with Tom based on Stanley's special skills, see Stanley is gayer then a $3.00 bill and the higher ups need him to investigate the murder of a county supervisor. Tom is admittedly homophobic, and it's not that he hates gays, he just doesn't want to have one as a partner. Tom has to admit that Stanley knows this world that they're investig...more
Finally, an MM mystery that's got both the romance and the mystery part down pat! Or rather, finally! An MM mystery where the mystery isn't just an excuse to pitch two unlikely protagonists together more times than unnecessary, as well as an added excuse to get one of them in deadly trouble.

This mystery novel is actually well, a mystery novel. It'a also a dead ringer for Josh Lanyon's Adrien English series. The difference? This one stresses more on the romance part that JL's AA series.

It's got...more
k reads
I did not buy the relationship between these two men at all. And Stanley is terrible at his job. What a crappy cop. I couldn't believe that he had been made a detective. He was like an incompetent Nancy Drew. (That's a real pet peeve of mine - incompetent characters who we are told are all that. Its right up there with characters who are supposed to be smart but are really just chuckleheads.)
I found the writing awkward. Dialogue between characters came across as info-dumpy, instead of real conve...more
Debbie McGowan
It's as well I read some of the other reviews of this book beforehand. The over-the-top stereotyping was tough to work through, and I struggled to ignore it, until the 40% mark, at which point I was hooked.

It is quite a clever exploration of stereotypes, I think, possibly. I'm not sure. In the end it was a great story and an interesting mystery. Without spoiling anything, there is a persisting stereotype that needed to go, and the Kindle edition formatting is all over the place.

Still, a good sta...more
I really should have loved this book. A masculine "straight" cop (Tom) is attracted to his gay partner (Stanley). Unfortunately, I could not get past the constant use of "fag" and the complete confusion between drag queens and transgender characters. Worst, the two main characters seemed to be outdated stereotypes with very little depth.

Setting the story in San Francisco made it even less believable since the detectives in the department seemed to have zero understanding of the gay community. T...more
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Victor J. Banis is a writer. Go here to read his own autobiographical sketch. It's worth it.
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“I think this guy’s dead,” the coroner said, scooting another inch or two, to be safe.
“There’s something wrong here,” Tom said. They both looked at him.
“No, I’m pretty sure of it,” the coroner said. “That bullet hole, for one thing. Plus, he’s not breathing. That’s the kind of thing we look for.”
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