Book Reviews

Mann Hunt (The Declan Hunt Mysteries 1) by Peter E. Fenton at Pride Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Private Investigator / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 29-August-2023

Book Blurb

How far would you be willing to go to finish the job?

Declan Hunt is having a bad week. His kidnapping case is showing little progress, his office assistant has left him on short notice and his latest investigation has left him literally battered and bruised. But things change when he hires twenty-four-year-old Charlie Watts to help out at the office. They form an unlikely partnership while trying to solve two seemingly unrelated cases whose threads begin to weave together when the missing person’s case turns to murder.


The investigation takes them from the dark alleys, gay bars and bath houses of Calgary to the richest parts of the city during the world-famous Calgary Stampede.


But will they be able to discover who the killer is before another life is lost? And will Declan be able to solve the mystery of his relationship with Charlie, who is clearly attracted to him—especially since it is evident that the attraction is becoming mutual?



Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder, and homophobia.


Book Review

The setting for ‘Mann Hunt’ is right now, though in the midcentury just passed. Fenton, the author, has employed a noir style in which appropriate people and plot were much popularized. Let’s start with a useful definition of noir: “Crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.” [ dictionary/noir] While this story might be more easily consumed as a feature film in your local theater, where atypical facial memes improve recognition of characters rapidly wandering in and out of the action, consider that a well-written noir, making the readers anxious for results, never slows attentive reading speed! Avoiding spoilers, I’ll let you know that the sharp noir style in ‘Mann Hunt’s’ first twenty percent delivers: (1) a kidnapping and drowning, (2) the hero being beaten up while undercover, (3) clients pressured by hoodlums, (4) a twenty-four-year-old unemployed, gay computer person, who eventually ends up in a gay bar, and (5) hero Declan at the Greek, an aptly named gay bathhouse. Take a moment, catch your breath, and become imprinted with the often terse, declamatory atmosphere. I. e., “Declan opened the driver’s door. The detective pulled the keys out of the ignition and ran back to the trunk. He calmly slid the key in the lock, and turned it. The truck lid opened. Inside lay the body of…”  Wow!


The opening episode of this book immediately poses as a seemingly random event – but of course, it’s one to which we will suitably return. And even minor details of apparent little note are woven into the feel of occurrences. But we are quickly on to Declan, the hero/detective – and his new office temp hire, Charlie. Both are beautifully, tautly described, without unnecessary verbosity. Charlie: Maybe a bit gangly, wiry, not without muscle, which “… just a little of it had made it north of his waist. He saw himself as all thighs and ass with a series of twigs sticking out from his narrow upper trunk.” And Declan, “…normally a bottom, took the dominant position, pushing the guy’s head into the thin pillow. On nights like this, Declan needed to be in control.”


The main characters are perfect for the setting. The supporting characters are individually interesting, adding somewhat to the flow – but never distracting. Author Fenton honors the ideal noir balance of character and plot – each explicated appropriately. Porn in the noir style often sacrifices character for detailed sexual dynamics, but here we have reasonably sexually functioning heroes who grab us in places other than just our privates. To honor that talent, this reviewer will not give away too much of the plot, but will surely direct you to concentrated reading.


So, lest you miss my position – ‘Mann Hunt’ is quite wonderful. The characters are fully developed for your interest or distaste. There is sufficient sex, but not so much as to exhaust the reader or the main characters – it ain’t quite that kind of book. The plot’s tension is constructed to keep us turning the pages, as it gyres tightly to its conclusion. As a plus, clearly more adventures will be at hand (or some more endearing body parts?) in subsequent books in this series. The author has facile use of language, which is akin to a well-seasoned meal. Example: “The cleaning kid at the gay bar shouted an announcement, “Toilets are being washed in a minute. Use ‘em now or forever hold your pees.” Go! Enjoy, until you do!




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Pride Publishing via GRRT for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 289 pages/67295 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-August-2023
Price $4.99 ebook, $19.95 paperback
Buy Link