March 24, 2022

Recommendation: Philip Suggests a First Time Novelist

Recommendation: Philip Suggests a First Time Novelist

Ep:107 Queer Writers of Crime is excited to add Philip to the team. Once each month he'll give you a book recommendation and in his premier episode his suggestion is a novel by a new author.

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Devil's Chew Toy by Rob Osler

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Transcript
Brad Shreve:

Welcome. This is episode two of the week, which means it's time for a book recommendation. I'm thrilled to have Philip added to the team, and He will suggest a novel each month. To start off, he does one of my favorite things we do here, and that's introduced new authors. Let go,

Announcer:

it's time to put on your sleuthing cap feel nailbiting dread and face heart racing fear. This is Queer Writers of Crime, where you'll get book recommendations and hear interviews with LGBTQ authors of mystery, suspense and thriller novels. Here's your host, Brad Shreve.

Brad Shreve:

Hi, this is Brad and this is Queer Writers of Crime. This is our weekly book recommendation episode, and we have these three times a month. If you like to know our new format, just wait and at the very end, I'll give a quick rundown. If you want to make life easy, don't even worry about it and just go ahead and hit the Follow button and then you don't have to worry about when it's gonna be on. But anyway, I have Philip Bahr here. Philip was a guest on one time and did a book recommendation when Justene was out of town I believe. I don't know she couldn't make it. And Philip was one of those that stepped in and he did an outstanding job. So now Phillip is a regular feature. He'll be on once a month to do one of the book recommendations and welcome Philip Bahr.

Unknown:

Thanks, Brad. Thank you so much for having me.

Brad Shreve:

I appreciate you jumping in and being a part of the show now.

Unknown:

I'm thrilled. You know, you know that I love I love gay male mysteries. I love queer mysteries. I love LGBTQ mysteries. And of course, you know, my reading started a long time ago with people like Michael Nava and Greg Herron. But I just really want to say that thanks to you and Justene, my mystery reading has just expanded so much in the past couple years. And I really appreciate it. And I'm thrilled to be a part of the family here.

Brad Shreve:

Well, I'm thrilled that you're here. Out of curiosity, do you read any other type of novels in mysteries?

Unknown:

I do. You know, I'm a public librarian by trade. So that's my, that's my career. And so I tried to read literary fiction. I read. I read some science fiction, quite a bit of nonfiction, but really my focus. I live in a fairly small town in Connecticut, and my focus is really on reading as much LGBT content read authors that as I can, so and I and for some reason, cozy mysteries right now just feel right to me. So I read a lot of those.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, as a writer, I feel like I need to expand my horizons in read other genres, unfortunately, when I sit down to read queer mysteries, or what I wonder, so there are other authors that are my favorite authors that at least identified as straight, I get back to them occasionally, but Christopher Rice has just come out with I believe it's his first romance novel, and I'm not a romance fan is as a rule. That's fine. Yeah. My husband is like some, but I think I'm gonna pick his up because I'm a fan of his so we'll see. Great. So you have a book recommendation I, we talked and I don't even know what you're going to do. So I'm anxious to see what this is. What's the book?

Unknown:

Well, I do have a book recommendation. It's actually a book from a debut novelist. The author's name is Rob Osler and the book is called Devils Chew Toy, but it's not as kinky as it sounds.

Brad Shreve:

Sounds awesome. And I'm so glad you got a new author. I love introducing new people.

Unknown:

Yeah, so Rob writes the Hayden and friends contemporary mystery series. But before that, he had a short story called Analog that was published in Ellery Queen's mystery magazine, and it won the 2022 Robert L Fish Memorial Award for Best Short Story by debut author this year as part of the annual Edgar Awards presented by Mystery Writers of America. So Rob got off to a good start. He's now published his first book, which just was published last month called Devil's Chew Toy. So that's what I'm here to talk about today.

Brad Shreve:

Well, damn, he actually got off to a really good start. So yeah, yeah, I'm anxious to hear this.

Unknown:

So Devil's chew toy. The protagonist name is Hayden McCall. And Hayden is a Seattle school teacher. He teaches eighth grade social studies. He's also a blogger like myself. And he, his blog is called Mates on Dates. And it's all about the world of gay dating in Seattle for I suppose. 20. He's 25 years old. So I suppose for 20 somethings in Seattle. So interspersed throughout the book are blog postings, and they're very funny and very snarky and just add to the depth of the story for sure. So the story starts out not with a mystery, but actually with a mishap. Hayden accidentally gets kicked by a Go Go dancer at a gay bar and that's where the story begins.

Brad Shreve:

If you're going to go, go, go go dancer is a great way to kick dry, but go on.

Unknown:

It's true. It's true. So the dancers name is Camila Rodriguez. And the book actually starts out with them in the stockroom after Hayden's been kicked. And hey, Camilla is helping him nurses bloody nose and almost immediately we realize that this guy is not just a Go Go dancer. He's not just a you know, pretty boy or anything but he actually is has a very sweet side to him because he's really concerned about what happened. So Hayden describes Camillo as tall but not too tall Hayden's very short, he's five foot four, and then tall muscled brown skin a few tats so he's got attached to have a long hair Latina woman, which is a little mysterious, and then he's got the word familia running across his ribcage as well. So Camillo actually invites Hayden back to his place, which kind of throws Hayden for a loop. Hayden, it's this this part of the book is very funny. Hayden considers himself what he calls a 7.3 on a scale of one to 10. So he claims he claims his orthodontia work gives him that extra point three, and that those kinds of jokes are peppered throughout the book, which makes it like a really fun. It's even a time silly, but very cozy mystery. If he puts Camillo even after a night of dancing and looking kind of ragged and worn out, he puts him at a 9.2. So obviously, he doesn't feel like he's in Camilla's league. And he doesn't understand why Camilla is offering to take him home for the evening. So they get outside outside of the bar, and Camillo offers him a ride in his truck, and they get to the his pickup truck, and it's a red pickup truck. And Camilla is wearing red high tops. And earlier in the evening, he was wearing a red jock strap to his dance. So Hayden, because he's a ginger thinks that this color red, it's like a sign from somewhere that it's gonna, like end up, you know, marrying this guy. It's very funny. So the first thing that happens when they get back to Camilla is is that Camilla says, I've got to introduce you to my roommate and the roommate turns out to be someone named commander, which is actually a bull terrier with a white coat and a black ears. So commander ends up becoming a real integral part of this story. So the date turns out to be sort of a cuddle only sleepover. Cuddle Camilla says that he only likes to cuddle on first dates. So again, there's like sort of this really nice contrast between sort of the what you think of gogo boy is going to be and then the sort of sweet and innocent sort of side of Camillo. And of course, it wouldn't be a mystery if the actual mystery doesn't appear very early on in the book. So in Devils Chew Toy Hayden wakes up the next morning and Camilla is gone. Oops. Oh, yeah. So Camilla, so Hayden's in the bed. He's by himself in this apartment. Of course, he doesn't know who Carmelo is he just, you know, said he would go home with him. And of course, on top of everything, the dog commander is still there. So. So he feels like oh, I've got to do something. Maybe I should take commander out and then all of a sudden, there's like a big rap on the door. And suddenly, there's two Seattle cops that are there with all these questions. So it doesn't look good, because there's no Camilla there. And it's his apartment. And also, of course Hayden is gonna black eye from the night before. So it turns out that the reason why the cops are there is because Camilla's truck was found parked empty, and the motor was still running. So the police are there to ask him questions. After talking to Hayden for a while and seeing how nervous he is and sort of uptight, they realize there's probably no foul play on Hayden's part. So they say, well, we're not going to fill a missing reports out yet. So they leave and then Hayden's left with Commander and no Camilla. So he takes the dog out for a walk, he feeds him, and then he leaves and he doesn't. He decides that he's just going to leave a note for Camila and go home. And then what happens is, as the day wears on, and he does his chores, or whatever he finds out that he's not heard back from Carmelo and he starts worrying about the dog. So he goes back to Camilla's apartment, and that's where he finds out that the whole apartment has been ransacked. Oh, so now that now the mystery is really beginning. So there's a second visit from the cops, there's more questions. And then there's this decision that he has to take commander with him because there's nowhere to leave commander. So he takes commander back to his apartment complex in Seattle called the Orca Arms, which is a great for it sounds like is it like a waterpark theme park or something? I

Brad Shreve:

don't know. It reminds me of Three's Company. I always went to the Regal Beagle.

Unknown:

Hmm, exactly. Those names are just so classic. It's very funny. So he goes back to the orc arms and he immediately meets his neighbor, who's named Sara Lee, which is very funny. And Sara Lee ends up being kind of a Gladys Kravitz character through the whole she's sort of nosy neighbor, she's always spying on Hayden. So he's always trying to sort of dodge her. And of course, there's obviously a no pets clause in the apartment complex. So she's already screaming at him that she's going to report him. So I guess you could say sort of poor Hayden poor commander, but commander seems to have hit his stride. So he was found the second time sort of cow cowering under the bed, from the from the break in. But then he immediately takes a shining to Hayden and he ends up falling asleep on Hayden's bed. So if you hadn't noticed from the title of the book, or the comments that have been making about commander, this is really not just a cozy game mystery, but it's a dog lovers mystery as well. So commander really plays an important role in in grounding Hayden throughout the book, and also connecting him to Camillo. And I feel like the real reason why Hayden even gets involved at all in the start is because he needs to make sure the dog is taken care of. And then the rest of the story sort of unfolds from there. So as time moves on, Hayden realizes that the police aren't going to do anything because this is a young, gay Latino, gogo boy. And so he decides to start going and searching for help on his own and he finds two of Camilla's friends. Hollister and Hurley I'm sorry, Hollister and burly, two incredible lesbian characters, and in particular, Hayden and Hollister really become the pair of amateur sleuths that follow the clues to finally help find Camillo, with the help of burly along the way. So the story takes them to Barking Ham Palace, which is a pet store where Camilla worked part time and they question the owner, della and Camilla, his ex boyfriend Ryan, who there's something up with him because he's recently come into a lot of money. And so the culmination of the whole thing, finds the whole gang at Puget Sound Island at state with sort of a diabolical scheme. It's on Earth. So I would say Devil's Chew Toy is really a great cozy mystery. It's perfect for animal lovers. It includes heartwarming friendships between gay men and lesbians, very positive butch lesbian characters which I always love in a story and an older male character who enters the picture and really acts as surrogate family to Hayden and to Commander as well the the banter is really funny. The mystery is really shocking actually considering it's a cozy and the ending of course is happy because it's a cozy, so I just love I love the book I really enjoyed a lot. Well, there's

Brad Shreve:

a lot of things that sound great to me. First of all, the mystery itself just sounds intriguing with the running car and what happened. But there's some other things that number one I like it's a cozy I don't think there's enough queer cozies Yeah, I agree. Number two, Hayden's the one that's five four. Yes. Okay. The fact that he's not one of these these so called mystery novels with the man with the incredible pecs right on the front cover, right? This is an average guys. Five Four. He's a ginger witch in erotica you hear a lot gingers referred to but rarely in just traditional stories when they're trying to make somebody sound sexy. They I've never heard anybody use term ginger. Some genders are extremely hot. You know you can be any hair color and be hot. But anyway, I don't know why that jumped out at me that this was a ginger. But what I liked about that is it reminds me Mark McNeese always writes or almost always writes characters that are older, because he tired of all these amateur sleuths been 25 or 30. And gorgeous. Yeah, no, I'm five five, actually. So I really like these five, four, but I like that off the bat. I like the fact that there's lesbians and

Unknown:

and I do think that I do think that the the fact that he's got these two in particular Hollister who's comes in she because he isn't what you think of when you think of a, you know, a nor a mystery that has like sort of a rough character in it who ends up being the protagonist. I think that Hollister picks up some of that heaviness for for him. So there's a real balance there where he's sort of the impish sleuth, and she's kind of the one that does the heavy lifting. No pun intended.

Brad Shreve:

Well, and the title Devils Chew Toy. That's just awesome. Yeah. And what was the hookup site that you talked about? Or the at the beginning? Oh, you

Unknown:

mean his? His? Was it? His blog? Yes. Yeah. So his blog is called. So this is a fictitious blog. Obviously. It's the protagonist blog. It's called Mates on Dates. Made Sunday. Yeah, mate. Maybe, you know, like, what did they I think, is that British or Australian? I can't remember.

Brad Shreve:

Mostly, I think maybe both. Yeah.

Unknown:

Yeah. So it's really it really heats sort of, like I said, Rob Osler, the author peppers blog posts around not a lot, just a couple of them, but in really in really good places. It's sort of, you know, he'll end the day of sleuthing, and then he'll go home and he'll like, be like, Oh, I've got to write a blog post. And then he, and then rob prints what the blog post is about. It's very funny and very, there's a little snarky, but in a good way.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, I know Australians and New Zealand's use mate. I think folks in the UK but yeah, then UK you can you send an email and say No, we never said that. Yeah,

Unknown:

no, I'm positive. Now that you say that because I remember seeing some movies were in some British films where they use the word mate. So

Brad Shreve:

Well, the thing I was curious about with mates on date, I think you've read my book and the the website, the hookup website. My book is Studs4Studs. I spent hours and hours and hours making up names and they were all taken. I know it's hard and when I finally found studs4studs I said thank God and I bought it immediately Yeah, hey, go ahead and Studs4studs. COMM see what you get. Okay. So thank you. It's you did a great job. I look forward to hearing what you have for us next month.

Unknown:

I'm really excited. I had a bit of an email back and forth with Rob and He sounds like a really nice guy and I'm really excited for him as a new writer, so I think he has another Hayden coming out that's in the works. And then he's got a second series that he is shopping around for someone for that so yeah. Yes, yeah. So the author's name is Rob Osler and the title the book is Devil's Chew Toy. Thanks, Brad.