Stevenson, Richard. “Third Man Out”. The Haworth Pres, 2006.
One More Time
Our gay detective, Donald Strachey, is back ahead in another thrilling detective story by Richard Stevenson,” Third Man Out”. Again we are kept guessing through a plot full of twists and turns as Stevenson takes a “whodunit” and breathes new life into an old formula by providing social commentary with timely action and lots of wit.
“Third Man Out” takes a look at the radical group, “Queer Nation”. An attempt is made on the life of John Rutka, a gay activist and Rutka asks Strachey to give him protection. He does not understand why anyone would want to kill him but it seems that his past actions have earned him a great many enemies. Rutka outed closeted gay homophobes who would like to see him dead. Strachey refused to be his protector and Rutka turned up dead, apparently the cause of murder was retribution for his outings. Strachey felt guilty after the man’s death and felt obliged to investigate the death. And we are off on another chase through the gay community to find out who was responsible for Rutka’s death.
Of the three Donald Strachey novels I have read thus far, I find “Third Man Out” to be the most powerful and suspenseful. The subtlety of the humor and of the language provides a wonderful read. It is a carefully plotted thriller that like the other Strachey novels keeps you guessing until the last page. The book goes way beyond the edges of the genre of mystery and confronts those issues important to today’s gay community. The questions that Strachey deals with are ethical and real and only with the suspense of the novel is a lot of good humor. The book is a winner on all fronts and if you are really into reading a good mystery story here is one you do not want to miss.
The Strachey novels are being filmed for television and will be shown on and produced by Here TV? “Third Man Out” was the first to be filmed and it is spectacular. “Shock to the System” has also been made into a wonderful film.