“The Butcher’s Son”, Audio Book, the first Dick Hardesty mystery by Dorien Grey

The Butcher’s SonAudio Version

Written by Dorien Grey – Narration by Jeff Frez-Albrecht

Review by Jon Michaelsen

TheButchersSon_Dorien Grey


Over the past few weeks I’ve been introduced to Audible Books, unabridged audio versions of print novels, and in my case gay genre. Years ago, I’d purchased or rented “books on tape” as they were known back in the day, typically multiple cassette tapes of unabridged versions of print books by often more popular writer’s whose publishers had the funds to produce and release novels due to said authors’ popularity. Impractical at the time, the only opportunity to listen to the “tapes” was when traveling alone in a car or aboard a plane most often renting tapes since purchasing had proved financially unsustainable. Alas, the GLBT genre I preferred was sorely underrepresented, and I preferred reading opposed to listening.

So along came ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange), whose author-friendly processes have attracted many writers of GLBT literature to release new and backlisted works in audio book. Wow, have I hit pay-dirt, since many of my favorite authors are releasing older, out-of-print novels in this new format for today’s audiences, often complimented with e-book and print versions. Shortly after, I learned of a new Facebook page dedicated to GLBT audio books and immediately “liked” the page to stay informed. Created in April this year by popular writer, Dorien Grey, the Facebook page is Audio Books: Now Hear This – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Now-Here-This/289308547757611.

I’ve listened to several audiobooks from many favorite authors lately, including the first in Dorien Grey’s infamous Dick Hardesty detective/mystery series, “The Butcher’s Son”.  The blurb alerts listeners that “…someone is torching the city’s gay bars…”, thus sets the tone for Grey’s multi Lammy Award nominated, long-running Hardesty mysteries, fourteen books over eleven years and counting.

More exciting for those of us who have been waiting – hoping! – for the earlier novels in the series to be reissued, listening to the recently released audio version “The Butcher’s Son” provides yet another medium for readers to enjoy. The plot is deftly written, exhibiting plenty of cleverly spaced twists and turns to provide not only a satisfying read (I read the e-book version last year, so I know what I’m talking about), but a pleasing listening experience aimed to challenge even the best amateur armchair sleuth.

What I found vastly different listening to the audio book versus reading the e-book version was experiencing narrator, Jeff Frez-Albrecht’s, dead-pan interpretation of Grey’s crisp prose, a new experience altogether exciting and chilling, like reading, err listening, to the story for the first time. The mysterious, suspenseful aspect of the novel is significantly enhanced with perfect timing enunciation, not to mention offering the opportunity to kick back, close your eyes and get lost in Grey’s skillfully crafted fictional character’s lives, especially the never perfect, oft complicated Dick Hardesty.