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Deadly Nightshade (Deadly Mystery #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  840 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
The first in a new mystery series from the legendary author of the Man From C.A.M.P. and Longhorns, Victor J. Banis. 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 ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by MLR Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Rounded up to 4 stars.

It was my first of Victor J. Banis and for sure not the last one, but I have difficulties to rate the first book in
Deadly Mystery series. It evoked and provoked many different emotions from wow to wtf/meh, and offered an extended range of all possible ratings - from 2 to 5.

What I really enjoyed:

**In spite of two dead bodies and some attempted murders it was an easy and witty read.

**The MCs are CHARMING. They couldn't be more different! An openly gay homicide detective Sta
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, mystery, cops
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
I can't help it. I love cliffhanger endings.

Great book. Very witty dialogue. The least sexually arousing sex scene I've ever read, but somehow it made sense.

I love Stanley. I love Tom.

But seriously, the dialogue is out of this world hilarious.
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite admire this novel for being...different.

I admit I was not really aware of the world of transsexual drag queens and the (wanna-be straight?) men who lust after them, thinking it's easier to go for a guy in a dress than go for the real deal and consider yourself gay.
As such, this story described a totally new world and also portrayed characters that I've never seen in this constellation before:


Stanley Korski is a cop who just switched to the homicide department. The funny thing is, he's
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
May 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5 stars

Deadly Nightshade was surprisingly good! It involves a murder mystery with one very butch cop, and one very flamboyant one. The contrast in characters led to some very interesting conversations and fun-to-read interactions between Stanley and Tom. The mystery itself was okay - nothing groundbreaking, but had enough momentum in it to hold onto my interest.

What I didn't like was how quickly things developed between Tom and Stanley. For just a first book in a series, I was expectin
This was quite a fun mystery. I liked the characters, too, but the romance was a bit weird. Still highly enjoyable. Looking forward to read more about Stanley and Tom.

Rating 3.5 stars.
Erin (PT)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Lexi Ander
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this one is a hard one to rate.

Story wise I enjoyed it mostly. The mystery was intriguing. The clues were all there but as usual I was looking in the wrong direction.

The MM side was compulsive reading. I kept hoping and hoping and then getting my hopes dashed. I think going in I was expecting another Jake and Adrien feel (Josh Lanyons Adrien English series) and I kinda got that.

My main issues I think was the homophobic slurs and name calling. Maybe I've just got too set in the fairy tale
k reads
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quiltbag, read-2013
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
Valentina Heart
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
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.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Pia Veleno
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Okay - Victor Banis got me! I'm breaking my rule of not reading the same author immediately after finishing a previous novel by the same - but, I feel head-over-heels for the two main characters in Deadly Nightshade - that I can't help myself! The budding, on-again, off-again, relationship of Stanley (gay-boy) and Tom (straight-not-so-sure-boy) hooked me, I said to say. And the mystery is fantastic, too! I have to admit - when first reading this novel, I was more interested in the serial killer ...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,
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm, series
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!)
May 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm in a very happy place right now, because A, I'm currently reading Tell Me It's Real and laughing so loud I'm sure my neighbours are embarrassed for me (frankly, it would take a pretty big dump of dumb or wrong to make me retract my happy-endorsement even at this early stage), and B, I didn't crack my skull open on a brick wall while reading "Deadly Nightshade". Not a bad place to be, all things considered.

Seriously, I don't get it. Everything in this book was ridiculous (in my opinion). Okay
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm
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
Oct 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, mystery, detective
The culprit and the motive were both so obvious, I'd figured everything out before the book had reached the 25% mark; after that, it was a slow, boring slog through sub-par investigations, unintelligent speculation, gay angst, a very unappealing romance and even more unappealing sex scenes, until the "homicide detectives" finally managed to see what was right in front of their eyes. Not to mention that internalised homophobia, while surely one of the realities of being a gay man, doesn't make fo ...more
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
Lillian Francis
Not rating this yet. I need to read the next book in the series before I can come with anything.
What can I say in this review space?
Well, I picked the right baddie, eventually.
At times I found the banter amusing and other times it pissed me off.
Tom swung between passive aggressive and outright offensive or confused and strangely sweet. Half the time I didn't even like him, but I get the impression he doesn't like himself much either.
Stanley was a sweetheart most of the time, although there were
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, cop-stories
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
Kay Sachse
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stanley has become a cop at the homocide department because he is gay and there is a murderer on the loose. His new partner is not too excited about him being queer but of course: during their murder hunt things turn out differently. And suddenly emotions bubble up that both men don't really embrace. Although the story is full of flaws, the general likability of the two guys really gets you involved in their stories. A nice read. Let's go on to book two....
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Victor J. Banis is a writer. Go here to read his own autobiographical sketch. It's worth it.
More about Victor J. Banis...

Other Books in the Series

Deadly Mystery (7 books)
  • Deadly Wrong (Deadly Mystery, #2)
  • Deadly Dreams (Deadly Mystery, #3)
  • Deadly Slumber (Deadly Mystery, #4)
  • Deadly Silence (Deadly Mystery #5)
  • A Deadly Kind of Love (Deadly Mystery, #6)
  • A Prayer for the Dead (Deadly Mystery, #7)

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“Some people want everything for nothing.” 4 likes
“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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