Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gravedigger” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gravedigger (Dave Brandstetter #6)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  16 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gravedigger, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gravedigger

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 256)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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 -
Deanna also on Leafmarks because I miss Marco
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).
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
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.
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.

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
Emilie added it
Dec 17, 2014
Matthew (Matty)
Matthew (Matty) marked it as to-read
Dec 15, 2014
Kirsten marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
Brad added it
Nov 17, 2014
Elisabeth O
Elisabeth O marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Barbara marked it as to-read
Nov 03, 2014
Laura Mcgowan
Laura Mcgowan marked it as to-read
Oct 26, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Q&A with Josh...: Brandstetter Challenge: #6 Gravedigger 38 27 Jan 18, 2014 03:55AM  
  • Rag and Bone
  • Stranger Things Have Happened: An Adrien English Write Your Own Damn Story (Adrien English Mystery)
  • Shock to the System (Donald Strachey, #5)
  • Kitto (Tyack & Frayne, #4)
  • Boystown 3: Two Nick Nowak Novellas
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...
Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter, #1) Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter, #2) Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter, #3) Skinflick (Dave Brandstetter, #5) The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (Dave Brandstetter, #4)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »