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Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  779 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
On Dave Brandstetter Created by Joseph Hansen"But with so many dying, we better love each other for real, and all we can--we're so lucky to have the chance." --Cecil, to Dave, in "A Country of Old Men"

"In many ways a conventional P.I.--although he is in fact an insurance claims investigator--Dave Brandstetter makes for an interesting read partly because he is one of the fe
Paperback, 187 pages
Published December 31st 2000 by Alyson Books (first published 1970)
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Ikhneumon Not many out gay actors fit the standard Brandstetter description of "ruggedly handsome" (the default aesthetics for most actors these days being…moreNot many out gay actors fit the standard Brandstetter description of "ruggedly handsome" (the default aesthetics for most actors these days being either "metrosexual" or "scruffy"), but how about Robert Gant?(less)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Dave Brandstetter, insurance investigator, is looking into the death of local radio star and mayoral candidate Fox Olson, who crashed his car through a bridge railing on a rainy night. Fox's body has not yet been found, and Brandstetter finds more than one reason to be suspicious.

This is the first book in a series featuring what is to my knowledge the first explicitly homosexual detective--and a very hardboiled detective at that. Brandstetter is sort of a gay Lew Archer--operating out of LA, di
Richard Derus
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: Fadeout is the first of Joseph Hansen's twelve classic mysteries featuring rugged Dave Brandstetter, an insurance investigator who is contentedly gay. When entertainer Fox Olson's car plunges off a bridge in a storm, a death claim is filed, but where is Olson's body? As Brandstetter questions family, fans, and detractors, he grows certain Olson is still alive and that Dave must find him before the would-be killer does. Suspenseful and wry, shrewd and deepl
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First gay mystery I ever read; Hansen became the writer I compare all other GLBT mystery writers to (usually unfavorably).
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Recommended to Lena♥Ribka by: Marshall Thornton
4,5 stars.


My first Joseph Hansen book. And this date I should mark in my calender. Because to review a book of Joseph Hansen without mention the person Joseph Hansen itself is IMPOSSIBLE. He is the real pioneer of the gay mystery/thriller genre. Even if you are not a fan of this genre, but consider yourself a passionate MM-reader, then it belongs to your general knowledge to know this name: Joseph Hansen. Born 1923, died 2004(*sob*).

His twelve novels about Dave Brandstetter, an insuran
Rosa, really
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All the alls of people.

This book.


I’ve been masticating over this book for a week. Yes, like a cow.

Result: I don’t know what to say about it.

Every time I sit down to write this review I stare at the white page on my laptop until my mind has blanked itself into some sort of Zen state and drool threatens to drip down my chin. So I wipe my mouth and go to bed. Doing absolutely nothing can be so exhausting.

I really only have one main point to make:

If you’re a reader you should read Fadeout. If you’re a writer you s
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Fog shrouded the canyon, a box canyon above a California town called Pima. It rained. Not hard rain but steady and grey and dismal. Shaggy pines loomed through the mist like threats. Sycamores made white twisted gestures above the arroyo. Down the arroyo water poured, ugly, angry and deep. The road shouldered the arroyo. It was a bad road. The rains had chewed its edges. There were holes. Mud and rock half buried it in places. It was steep and winding and there were no guard rails.

He drove it w
This book is short in my standard, since I read other mystery novels that are twice long. However, even short, it packs a punch. The writing is profound. Using short sentences, I find it to be lyrical. For example, when Dave describes his memory of Rod, it is melancholic without being sappy.

The mystery is good -- I enjoy the investigation and the issue of homosexuality that surrounds the mystery. I admire Mr. Hansen since this book is written in the 1970's and his character, Dave Brandstetter,
James Thane
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Originally published in 1970, this was the first book in Joseph Hansen's series featuring private eye Dave Brandstetter. The series would ultimately run for twelve books, through A Country of Old Men, which appeared in 1991. Dave Brandstetter was an insurance company investigator, but, inevitably, he wound up investigating a murder or two in each of the books in the series. What set this series apart was the fact that Brandstetter was, if not the first, then certainly one of the first openly gay ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller, mm
Fadeout -- Hansen

Let's face it, we never really grade on an absolute scale around here. For that matter, I'm not sure that's even possible anymore. Shakespeare would be around 20, and a few people would be between 1-5, and the rest would start under -30, tailing into the -70 range. We'd get lost in the infinite space between two rational numbers somewhere there, have to use a logarithmic scale, and I'm sure we'd have to divide by the square root of minus 1 to make it all come out even. I'm telli

This, this kind of writing is the reason I read and the reason I continue to sift through the chaff to find the little hidden gems.

Spare, very spare language. Pictures are drawn with a few dark brushstrokes but the resulting pictures are full of our world, our lives. Hansen creates a world wrapped in sadness and mourning with never-ending rain, human weakness, sadness, greed, kindness, love, hope, all wrapped up in one little book.

He draws up each and every character in his book with meticulous
What a fantastic book. I can't remember when I've read a book as gripping as Fadeout — I literally couldn't put it down. Hansen's brilliant voice mesmerized me completely.

This was my first Joseph Hansen book and I was totally blown away by his writing: The way he uses his words so economically and the smart, dry humor of his. He makes all his characters so unique, so alive and human, and creates the wonderful sense of place throughout the book. I enjoyed enormously the heart-wrenching, mature t
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dave Brandstetter is an insurance investigator who is hired to investigate a death claim of a local celebrity, whose car plunged off a bridge in a storm. In the absence of a body the insurance company needs to send their own investigator before handing over $150,000 (works out to be about $900,000 by today’s standards). As the investigation continues Brandstetter is convinced that Fox Olson is still alive and he must find him before the would-be killer does.

Dave Brandstetter embodies the tough,
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, queer
It’s been a while since I read these, and when I noticed they’re now available for Kindle, I kind of fell upon them. Hansen’s writing is really readable: something like the economy of Chandler, and the turn of phrase, but somehow more streamlined and quick to read. And somewhat less problematic in terms of the representation, since we have a gay detective and generally more up to date models of how people interact and what women are capable of, etc. I can’t recall any exact examples where I wasn ...more

I've always loved libraries. Even after discovering and converting to the e-books, I have a special place in my heart for a paperback. There's just something therapeutic and comforting about physically holding a book in your hands and turning its pages. So I try to preserve and expand my library, mainly by collecting paperbacks of the e-books that impressed me the most, my keepers.

Fadeout is definitely a book I'd like to add to my collection. And I have a feeling all Joseph Hansen's works will
Đorđe Bajić
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Veoma dobar krimi roman iz 1970. godine sa naglašenim gej podtekstom. Izdavačka kuća Studio Leo, do sada prepoznatljiva po objavljivanju romana Stivena Fraja, proširila je delokrug borbe i objavila detektivski roman Fejdaut (Fadeout), prvobitno publikovan 1970. godine. Fejdaut Džozefa Hansena (1923-2004) prvi je roman iz serijala o Dejvu Brendsteteru. Već posle prvih nekoliko stranica postaje očigledno da je Hansen izdanak škole „tvrdog“ krimića, te da se nadovezuje na zaostavštinu Hemete, Čendl ...more
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mystery, glbt
I feared that this book would be terribly outdated. Also, I am always a bit wary of books deemed "classics" especially when they are less than half a century old. But, it was unnecessary.

Both the mystery and the writing are tight - there is no redundant words here - although Hansen's style takes some time to get used to. But, the real strength of the novel is Dave. He is written in a matter-of-fact way which little authors can manage - even today. He is shown through actions and interactions wi
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
This is a good start to the series starring insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter. I have the next few novels in the series so I'll likely read them in order. It was published in 1969/1970 but along the way one can see that the novel was written just a few years before '69. There is a poetic setting in the later part of the novel, Bell Beach, which features a shuttered and crumbling amusement park and decaying pier. I'd never heard of Bell Beach prior to reading this book. Is it a real place?
Paul  Perry
4.5 stars, review contains spoilers

Hansen is an author I’d not been aware of, but then until recently I’ve really only read the big names in crime fiction, and only some of those - Conan Doyle, Hammett, Chandler, Elmore Leonard - and some of the current writers such as Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre and Dennis Lehane. Thanks to couple of groups on GoodReads (especially the Pulp Fiction group) I’ve been discovering some very fine crime writers and, if Fadeout is anything to go by, Joseph Hansen is
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dave Brandstetter is an insurance company investigator in charge of looking into difficult claims. When radio personality Fox Olson’s convertible plunges off a mountain road into a river, Brandstetter is called in to determine why nobody can find the body. Was it an accident? Suicide? Murder? Or is Fox alive and in hiding? And how does all this relate to the sudden reappearance of Olson’s war buddy.

Brandstetter has his own demons to fight. He has recently lost his lover, and this is his first ca
Edina Rose
Gay mystery, great style, great characterisation, average mystery plot with great romantic elements, most of them bittersweet.

The main character, Dave Brandsetter:
Gay Insurance Claim Investigator, Dave Brandsetter works for the family's insurance company; in fact, he works for his father who is MD and Chairman of Medallion Insurance. A single child, he is the son of one of the very young women his father serially marries and dumps. He is an AMAZING character. Strong and broken, tough but fair,
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without question, Hansen is a master. If gay fiction of any sort interests you, you will most likely be drawn in to this story. While Fadeout is a classic example of the "California detective" genre, it is also a deeply human book. The main character, insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter, is easy to care for and more than that he is easy to admire. Few authors inspire me, but Hansen has made the list.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent mystery, a classic, where deep emotions conveyed in a sharp, economical way, make the reader care so much for the main character, and become entwined with the story yet never overwhelm it.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why haven't I ever read Joseph Hansen before?!! This, his first Dave Brandstetter novel, was not only a great mystery, noir novel, it was a great novel, period. I can't wait to read more of his work.
I'm cheating, because I've read two thirds of the book, but I could have given the 5 stars much earlier.

I had to stop because it is too compelling and I was starting to jump forward.


So now I finished it. It was just perfect, from Dave to the secondary characters, from the mystery to the relationship part. Read any of the 5 stars review for more articulate opinions, like Johanna's or ns's.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm, read-again-maybe
This is the sort of book that makes you want to reread it in order to catch more of the nuances. Spare, laconic, with some beautiful imagery and understated emotion. A strong narrative voice. Oh, and the sense of.....I don't know....loss, the inevitability of suffering, something like that, but not exactly cynicism. Melancholy. Like a noir novel, without being as tough. And good plot twists -- kept me going, in any case.

"The rain laid a quick, eager surface on the road." I do love imagery!

An eas
Deanna Against Censorship
Hanson's descriptive phrases bring the scenes and people alive in the mind of the reader. His MC Dave Brandstetter is cut in the mold of Dashiell Hammett's detectives. He is tough. He is smart. He is determined. He is relentless. He is more. He has money. He is gay at a time when he could still be arrested for nothing more than loving another. He is a intriguing character and unforgettable. This is a wonderfully written mystery that is still worth reading 40 years later.

Fenriz Angelo
I liked the book but i think i didn't connect much with the story, in the sense some point i lost concentration and i was wondering what the fuck was going on but refused to go back in pages to re-read it, lol. 'I liked it' rating because Dave Brandstetter is an interesting character, and because i liked the classic detective novel style this book has though it doesn't feel dated, which is really good.

I'll start the next one soon.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orgasmic
Awesome ultra-70's west coast noir, which gets everything right - i loved the whole tone of this one, the laurel canyon-esque setting, the descriptions of the era clothing (brown on brown), it's got depth and tragedy and humour, and such a joy to read strong gay characters in what is still a deeply hetty genre. baby i'ma read ALL of the Brandstetter mysteries.
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting this book to feel dated. It didn't. I was expecting it to be emotionless. It wasn't. The writing was beautiful without being overdone. Mr. Hansen set the mood with relatively few words. Dave was a perfect detective, hard boiled but with compassion. Lonely but open to options. His reminiscences of his dead lover were so poignant, my heart broke for him.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A unique hero and a dandy little mystery novel.
Sure... maybe it's dated (it was originally published in 1970 -my paperback copy came out in 1980) but Joseph Hansen was quite a gifted writer and the story holds up even when some of the pop cultural references don't.

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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)
  • Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter, #2)
  • Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter, #3)
  • The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (Dave Brandstetter, #4)
  • 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)
“In twenty years you could say and do a lot you wish you hadn't. In twenty years you could store up a lot of regrets. And then, when it was too late, when there was no one left to say "I'm sorry" to, "I didn't mean it" to, you could stop sleeping for regret, stop eating, talking, working, for regret. You could stop wanting to live. You could want to die for regret.

It was only remembering the good times that kept you from taking the knife from the kitchen drawer and, holding it so, tightly in your fist, on the bed, naked to no purpose except that that was how you came into the world and how your best moments in the world had been spent--holding it so, roll onto the blade, slowly so that it slid like love between your ribs and into that stupidly pumping muscle in your chest that kept you regretting.”
“Windows were broken. Where not broken they were boarded up, had been for years: the rust from nailheads had written long, sad farewells down the salt-silvered planks.” 2 likes
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