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Gravedigger (Dave Brandstetter #6)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Charles Westover, a disbarred lawyer, alleges that his runaway teenage daughter has beenmurdered and he files an insurance claim. And then he disappears, leaving claims investigator, Dave Brandstetter to sort through the pieces of the puzzle. Young women have been murdered by the crazed guru of a bizarre sex cult - is this what happened to Serenity Westover?

Paperback, 183 pages
Published by Owl Books, Henry Holt & Co ,U.S. (first published January 1st 1982)
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The more I read of Hansen, the happier I get with him. I love his style, he comes in tells you a story and bows out, no frills but a whammer of a punch. This series keeps getting better for me as I read on either because it really does or because I need my Hansen fix from time to time and I end up with serious cravings.

Whilst telling this story Hansen parallels it with what’s happening in Dave’s personal life, like seeing your future in your neighbour’s story or vice versa. I got so interested i
Rosa, really

Motherfucking cliffhangers. AUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!

BR with Sofia.

But I get to be Bogie. Them's the rules.
James Thane
First published in 1982, this is the sixth entry in Joseph Hansen's series featuring Dave Brandstetter, the first openly gay detective to inhabit the world originally occupied by Philip Marlowe and other such giants of the P.I. genre.

Dave is now working for the Banner Insurance Company. A young woman named Serenity Westover has been missing for a couple of years, after falling under the spell of a nutcase named Azrael, who is something of a mash-up of Jim Jones and Charles Manson. The cops have

4,5 stars.

Gravedigger is the sixth book in the Dave Brandstetter series and I think I can talk about a common schema of the Dave Brandsttetter mystery:
*At the beginning our insurance investigator appears at the door/porch of a person who filed an insurance claim.

* Something doesn't fit, it is why his insurance company is nervous, and it is why the best man has to clear the situation. He asks questions. He lets his clients know that something in this death case wasn't quite kosher.

* He investi
I feel a little bit like a broken record with Hansen. I've grown to love his style, the descriptiveness, the sound of his prose. Most of it I do read semi-aloud (I whisper), unlike a lot of other stuff I read lately. It takes more time: it's worth taking time over.

I love the way Brandstetter has a life, has family, has people that we care about. I love that Doug doesn't slip right into obscurity because they've broken up: he is there, in the background. I love that the relationships Dave forms -
Bill  Kerwin

This sixth book in the Dave Brandstetter series is the best yet.
The gay milieu and Southern Cal atmosphere is superb as usual, but this time, instead hiding the solution of his mystery underneath a myriad of red herrings, Hansen constructs a denouement at once so surprising and so persuasive that the reader--this reader at least--is thoroughly satisfied.

Deanna Against Censorship
Joseph Hansen writes with brevity and beauty. His words paint pictures in the reader's mind yet he is not verbose. His stories are packed with characters and details yet they are compact. Not like mysteries are written today. This book was no exception. The plot was terse and tense. The story held my interest. His MC is strong, smart, a puzzle solver and gay. Not the usual mystery hero of the 70's & 80's . I liked that Doug was not really a part of this book. I like Cecil but doubt he and Da ...more
One of the many things i love about this series is how the reader shares Dave's moods, and for this reason, this is probably my favorite in the series so far. I love Dave's and Cecil's relationship and how it sets the pace - there's an almost bubbling excitement running through this book (all being relative).
Tex Reader
5.0 of 5 stars – Best One Yet In This Series.

I love gay mysteries and romances, and this has been one of the best series combining both, and in the process rightfully became for Joseph Hansen a classic in gay literature. This sixth in the series was the best so far and continued to build the story.

I liked this for the same reasons I liked each in the series. First off, for those interested, it worked well as a standalone, with its own self-contained mystery, while also further developing the cha
In this 6th book in the Brandstetter mysteries, we find Dave investigating the possible murder/disappearance of a young woman who was involved in a cult. Serenity Westover was a troubled young woman who disappeared 2 years ago and who sent a letter to her father with a picture of her new life. That life was to be another member of a cult whose leader, a demented man had killed and buried 6 women, 3 had been identified and the other 3 haven't. The father, who happens to be a disbarred lawyer who ...more
I happened upon this book this weekend at a used bookstore in Vancouver. Used books are so damned expensive there--this one was only three bucks! I liked the cheesy early-80s mass market cover and it had a nice snippet review from the New York Times Book Review on the back. Overall, it was a good read. The description on the back of the book makes no mention of it, so I was shocked and fascinated to discover that the protagonist Dave Brunstetter is an openly gay insurance claims investigator. As ...more
Angel Pedroza
I remember reading this book when it was first published in the 80's as a gay is his 30's. 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.
Another "David Branstetter Mystery." Gay private detective solves insurance scam mystery. Good tale, but not my cup of tea.
Edina Rose
great mystery, and great romance (Dave really falls in love again, he is reunited with the object of his affection, Cecil, a young journalist)
Okay mystery, although I solved it long before Dave did. I mostly enjoyed the character developments in this one.
Solid contemporary noir novel. Joseph Hansen delivers an action packed plot with a solid character development. Dave Brandsetter's entourage is still alive and thriving. From is very young widowed mother in law to his young lover, to ex-lovers, Brandsetter's death claim investigations are never set in a vacuum. Which is why Hansen's novels are so good and make you want more.

The Brandsetter's universe is a close canon, I'm half way through the corpus. I'm taking my time to go through the whole s
This one feels similar to Skinflick to me in that it gives us relatively little opportunity to guess the murderer and ends quite action-y and for my taste a little over the top. I prefer the earlier books which work better as whodunnits, but on the other hand, I love Dave Brandstetter and Hansen's writing so much that this is still worth 5 stars. Hansen has just such a great way with words, the way he does descriptions of scenery and characters. We also get quite a lot about Dave's private live ...more
One of the many things i love about this series is how the reader shares Dave's moods, and for this reason, this is probably my favorite in the series so far. I love Dave's and Cecil's relationship and how it sets the pace - there's an almost bubbling excitement running through this book (all being relative).
Rog Harrison
I first read this book about twenty years ago. I think one of my nieces left it at my house and even though I have moved twice since then it moved with me! I did not remember any of the story. In fact the only thing I had remembered was that the main character was an insurance investigator who happened to be gay. This was an exciting read and has certainly motivated me to seek out the other books in the series.
Lil' Grogan
2.5 stars. Personally didn't like parallels drawn between Dave's personal life and the case on this one. The case had such a slow build I was lulled.
Lori S.
Definitely one of those books which should be read in sequence with the rest of the series. However, it's still a decent book.
Jan 17, 2008 Pam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
01/17/08 rec via pbs
Christopher Clemens
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Q&A with Josh Lanyon: Brandstetter Challenge: #6 Gravedigger 38 31 Jan 18, 2014 03:55AM  
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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)
  • The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (Dave Brandstetter, #4)
  • Skinflick (Dave Brandstetter, #5)
  • 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)

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“Have you children, Mr Brandstetter?" He shook his head. "I was one once. Does it help?” 1 likes
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