Wednesday, January 26, 2011


If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, Dorien Grey qualifies. When long-time book and magazine editor Roger Margason chose the pseudonym “Dorien Grey” for his first book, it set off a chain of circumstances which has led to the comfortable division of labor and responsibility. Roger has charge of day-to-day existence, freeing Dorien—with the help of Roger’s fingers—to write. It has reached the point where Roger merely sits back and reads the stories Dorien brings forth on the computer screen.

One such intriguing book is The Angel Singers which you'll enjoy reading again and again.

Book #12 of the Dick Hardesty Mystery Series
Dorien Grey
ISBN 978-1-934841-06-8
Zumaya Boundless

All Dorien Grey's novels are available in or on order from any bookstore or on-line from AMAZON.

Take a group of men who love to sing, a devoted director, a wealthy backer, a lot of individual talent, clashing egos, and an upcoming concert. Throw in the backer's "protege," a five-year-old boy, a harried private detective, and a car bomb and...welcome to the maze.

Over the course of the weeks, I got to know not only something of how a chorus was made up, but a few through-Jonathan’s-eyes glimpses into what went on behind the scenes.

The night of Jonathan’s first rehearsal Roger Rothenberger, the chorus’s director, had, as he did with all new members, assigned him a “Buddy,” to help ease his way into the organization; introduce him around, show him the ropes, and explain and answer questions on procedures. Jonathan’s Buddy was a kid named Eric Speers, and the two of them hit it off immediately. So when Jonathan suggested inviting Eric over for dinner, I readily agreed. I was curious to meet him, and figured it would give me a little better insight into this new part of Jonathan’s life. He had indicated that Eric had been with the chorus since it had begun five years previously, and was deeply devoted to and involved in it. He was also the peacemaker of the group, which was apparently, as are most groups, both tight-knit and contentious.

It was inevitable that whenever you get 50 or so artistic gay men together, the road was not without its bumpy stretches. There were the inevitable cliques, feuds, and rivalries that afflict any group of humans, and Jonathan always brought home a doggie bag of the latest bits of gossip he’d heard at rehearsals. I’ve never gone in much for gossip, but Jonathan got such a kick out of observing all the various behind-the-risers intrigues and took such delight in sharing them with me that I couldn’t complain. It was rather like watching one of those guilty-pleasure soap operas on TV, although the cast members of the chorus dramas were not all as drop-dead gorgeous as their on-screen counterparts. There were even a few hush-hush allusions to a conflict between Rothenberger and Crandall Booth, and to Booth’s alleged financial ties to some rather shady types. I didn’t give any weight to the latter, since I knew that Glen O’Banyon, the city’s preeminent gay lawyer, for whom I frequently did work, was also a member of the chorus’s board, and if there were any solid basis to the allegations, Glen would not be associated with Booth in any way.

Rothenberger, Jonathan had told me, had been born and raised here, then moved to New York and started singing with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and became an assistant director. He’d then gone on to direct one or two other groups before moving back here. In addition to the Gay Men’s Chorus, he also directed the choir at the M.C.C. I’d seen him at the chorus’s last concert—the one that had prompted Jonathan to want to join. Rothenberger had reminded me of an opera star; portly to the point of being rotund, full beard, somewhat imperious manner; in absolute control when it came to leading the chorus. Jonathan reported that Rothenberger’s mantra at every rehearsal and before every concert was: “Remember; when you talk, you’re human. When you sing, you’re angels,” and everyone in the chorus apparently thought the world of him.

The most recent tempest in the choral teapot was created by a member who joined not too long before Jonathan, and who happened to be Crandall Booth’s nephew. There’s nothing like a little nepotism to get things heated up, and the controversy was compounded by the nephew, Grant Jefferson, apparently being something of a pain in the ass. Jonathan, of course, always prefers to see the good in everyone, but even he found it a little difficult to find much positive to say about Grant. “He’s really good looking,” he conceded, “and he does have a nice voice,” which, coming from Jonathan, I took to be something of a case of damning with faint praise.

Possibly another reason why I allowed myself to be vicariously caught up on the goings on of the chorus was that my work, while fairly steady, had lately tended to be far less than the stuff of which detective novels are made. For the past two weeks or so I had been caught up in a “case”…if it could even be called that…so stupifyingly dull I’d have much preferred to watch paint dry. Suffice it to say it involved a client with more money than intelligence who was on a vendetta against a former business partner and wasn’t going to let a little thing like his case not having a leg to stand on get in his way. I finally gave up trying to convince him that he was wasting his money, and resigned myself to the conclusion that if he was going to throw his money away, he might as well throw some of it at me. So I spent an inordinate amount of time running off in whatever new direction he pointed me. I could and should have quit; however, my mantra was: “It isn’t the principle of the thing, it’s the money.”

All Dorien Grey's novels are available in or on order from any bookstore or on-line from AMAZON.

Learn more about Dorien Grey and his excellent books on his website and his blog. For further insight into this remarkable author, check out his photolife.

I'll be back tomorrow to announce the winners from my newsletter contest. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell

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