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Third Man Out (Donald Strachey, #4)
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Third Man Out (Donald Strachey #4)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  320 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Which powerful mystery man killed the gay activist for outing him?

After an attempt is made on his life, Queer Nation activist John Rutka asks tough-as-nails gay private detective Don Strachey to provide him with protection. Why does someone want to kill him? The activist's efforts at outing closeted gay homophobes have earned him a multitude of enraged enemies who would j
Published January 15th 1993 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1992)
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I would really like to give it 5 stars!

Because I liked the mystery in Third Man Out more than in the previous instalments!

The brutal murder of John Rutka, a radical gay activist, put Dan in a very precarious situation. Because:

*John hired Dan for his personal protection but Dan quit some hours later. Dan had his reasons.

*There are too many people who liked to see John dead rather than healthy. Including a lot of members of a gay community. Rutka wasn't a popular and charismatic pers
Ije the Devourer of Books
To Out or Not to Out?

That is the question. In this book Don Strachey PI finds himself investigating the death of a gay activist who has made a disruptable name for himself by outing people.

When John Rutka experiences threats and attacks because of his activities he hires Don for protection but Don is loath to work for John. This is a loathing felt by all in the gay community because John Rutka outs who he pleases, not just closeted gays working against gay interests and HIV provision, but he al
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much better than the movie!
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best of the series so far. Reads very fast-the plot is exciting and the plot twists are truly surprising, especially the big one at the end. Stevenson's created his finest charcter in John Rutka; his amorality and psychopathic lying are reprehensible, and yet you can see why Strachey keeps getting sucked in to his webs. I did miss Strachey's homophobic arch nemesis in the police department, but I can see why it was necessary to the plot to sideline him-Bowman would never give Strachey the leeway ...more
Edina Rose
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is NOT a romance. It is a mystery with the MC, PI Donald, in an established relationship with the second MC Timothy (14 years together!).

The mystery was good, but I don't think I would have liked this as much as I did if I had not watched the movie first. I usually need more romance.

I liked seeing how Donald and his Timmy interact, discuss about various topics, work, ethics etc.

PS: Mention cheating but you don't actually see it described. (view spoiler)
Molli B.
4.5 stars. My favorite of the Stracheys so far. Complicated and very satisfying plot. He does a great job with complicated characters, too. Rutka is a real despicable jackass, but at the same time, he was very sympathetic. It's not easy to successfully write characters like that!

(I am more than somewhat tempted to hunt down the movies, but...I can only imagine how terrible they probably are. Sigh.)
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this one best so far especially because the mystery and the social issues are center stage. In previous books, some aspects of the Don-Timmy relationship bothered me, and since i do like them both a lot, i appreciated having their relationship on the background this time and no conflicts. And the writing is so good!
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, this one was my favorite, as it was the most complicated. I did remember how it ended from having seen the film version, but I could not remember how we go there, so it was fun to read it and figure that out.
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Third Man Out is a strong follow-up to Ice Blues though it lacks Ice Blues' fertile seam of dark humour — which oddly enough is the highlight of the dramatization produced by Here TV.

I look forward to reading Shock to the System.
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! An incredible read! The mystery held me until the reveal, and even though it is nearly 20 years later the situations are just as relevant today.
Sean Kennedy
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The strongest book of the series so far.
Adam Dunn
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
Very good, still a touch put out by the killer, it's always some random third party you've never heard of before in the book, but I suppose I'm getting used to it. Also there's a twist at the end that makes it all a bit easier to swallow.
I watched the second movie last night and just finished the fourth book, still enjoying it, looking forward to more.
Tex Reader
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-bk-grp-myst
4.5 of 5 stars – Best One Yet in an Entertaining Series.

I love gay mysteries and romances, and Richard Stevenson does a good job of combining both in one of the more entertaining such series. I liked this for the same reasons I liked each in the series. In fact, this fourth entry was the best one yet and continued to build the story. With crisp, witty writing, it’s a good mystery, set in the politically-charged early AIDS era, and brought to life by a colorful, hard-boiled yet likable PI, who ju
Here! tv, the gay and lesbian cable network, has produced four really good film-noir mystery films based on the Donald Strachey books. The films star openly gay Chad Allen as Private Investigator Donald Strachey and Sebastien Spence as Timmy Callahan, Donald's husband. The films have been fun and a first as they 1.) depict a gay detective who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty to solve a case and 2.) in depicting a monogamous gay relationship that has grown and deepened over the four films.

I h
Mar 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jane by: fandom osmosis
The plot of Third Man Out is noticeably more coherent than that of Strachey's Folly's and I think more relevant in term of today's spreading belief of forcibly outing closeted celebrities and prominent figures to provide more representation of gays and the morality of. It is hard to not compare John Rutka, Third Man Out's central character, with Perez Hilton and vice versa, even if both their drive and methods are slightly different.

On an another note: at times, I found the subtlety of Donald &a
Joe Scholes
Oct 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Greg Rowland
This, the fourth in the Donald Strachey gay detective series, was pretty much par for the series so far. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't gripping by any means. Still, there was a nice surprise at the end. Strachey is one of those characters you either love or hate, and I haven't made up my mind about him yet. He has his own "situational ethics" that I can sympathize with, if not embrace. Still, what's a main character without a few character flaws? :)

Just a general comment about ebooks, like this on
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just had to look up HERE! TV because this book has a tie-in cover to a TV movie made for HERE! TV... but I think the outlook might be bleak, the News section hasn't been updated since June 2014... so, that's worrisome. It appears to be limping along, I guess.

It's commercial free, so there's that, but I doubt I'd be willing to pay the premium, not so long as I get my news and drag queens from LOGO.

BUT, back to the story. This was more than serviceable and very much a period piece when Outing wa
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, queer
My favorite so far. The more time I spend in Don's head (four books in three days. I... should probably take a break) the more I like him, and the more I like the books in comparison to the films. (Which I still like, but differently.)

Of the ones I've read so far, this is the only one where the plot bears any more than a superficial resemblance to the movie, and the book really comes out ahead. The plot is rather more coherent, the characters a bit more intelligent, and the writing is much bett
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great story. this book really makes you think about whats really going on with politicians. And we know from recent news that the politicians who scream the loudest often have more to hide. Stevenson brings home the reality of so many political and religious secrets. This is a great book I did not suspect the killers almost to end. Stevenson kept me guessing almost to the very end and even then there was another surprise. He made me angry at the man who hired the detective because no ma ...more
((Read in 2009, reread for a challenge in January 2016))

Once more a great mystery with quite a few twists and a final surprise. AIDS, and the plight of the victims and of their partners and relatives is also present. I would have liked more Timothy ''on screen'' ;-). It's good to see also Don's doubts, when he notices that he is using the same ruthless methods of John Rutka, the gay activist (view spoiler)
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 4th book in the Donald Strachey mysteries and my favorite.It takes place in 1992 and our in PI is hired by a gay activist who claims attempts have been made on his life.John Rutka also has a self published paper that outs closet cases.John is also a pathological liar.Won't say more,but this is a good read and a highly recommended series.
Jaymes Neff
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I had ready by Richard Stevenson and I enjoyed it so much I finished it in 1 day. It is set in the time of the worse part of the Aids Epidemic and I lived through those years, it brought up things that I could identify with at that time. I enjoyed how he kept the mystery going right to the end. I would highly recommend this one.
Michael Adam Reale
Another great book by Richard Steveson. I am enjoying the Donanld Strachey Mysteries series. This is my second in the series. I just ordered other books. I am swiftly becoming a fan of this author. Great mystery writer.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars. Good gay mystery in which Don is asked to protect a guy who forcibly outs prominent gay people and who fears his life is in danger as a result. (In the ebook edition I read, none of the acronyms were capitalized. Argh.)
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I think I'd read this, but I couldn't exactly remember the end. About a Queer Nation member militantly outing gays in Albany and what happens when he outs the wrong guy, someone who seems bent on revenge. Pretty good story.
This is the book the first TV movie was based on. So I knew the ending. The interesting part was seeing what had been kept for the movie and what was working in the book and didn't make it in the movie version. A strong plot and some fun and witty relationship stuff between Donald and Timothy.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The humor in these books just cracks me up. And the mysteries are good, too.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think having seen the movie first has clouded my judgement of this one. I enjoyed it, but was somewhat bored as well, already knowing who the mystery man was and the twist at the end.
Keita Ito
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mystery novel involving an openly gay detective... There's also a movie series available as well that I haven't seen. I can't wait to read the rest in the series.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Richard Stevenson is the pseudonym of Richard Lipez, the author of nine books, including the Don Strachey private eye series. The Strachey books are being filmed by here!, the first gay television network. Lipez also co-wrote Grand Scam with Peter Stein, and contributed to C
More about Richard Stevenson...

Other Books in the Series

Donald Strachey (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Death Trick (Donald Strachey, #1)
  • On the Other Hand, Death (Donald Strachey #2)
  • Ice Blues (Donald Strachey, #3)
  • Shock to the System (Donald Strachey, #5)
  • Chain of Fools (Donald Strachey, #6)
  • Strachey's Folly (Donald Strachey, #7)
  • Tongue Tied (Donald Strachey, #8)
  • Death Vows (Donald Strachey, #9)
  • The 38 Million Dollar Smile (Donald Strachey, #10)
  • Cockeyed (Donald Strachey, #11)

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