on Feb. 4, 2018 :
“Transposition” is the second book of the author’s Hazard and Somerset series. While “Transposition” can be read as a stand-alone book, I’d suggest that the reader explore the first book, “ Pretty, Pretty Boys”, before reading “Transposition.” “Transposition” loses its complex meanings if a reader is not familiar with the background and character of Hazard and Somerset outlined in “Pretty, Pretty Boys”.
The novel and series itself weave a rich, complex and satisfying plot and cast of characters. There is nothing pretty in “Pretty, Pretty Boys” about the adolescent life of Emery Hazard in Wahredua when his first gay love is raped by the local boys and subsequently commits suicide as a result. Teen Emery known as “Re” to his nemesis John-Henry Somerset also falls victim to this bullying, but John-Henry intercedes, sparing Re gang rape only to be shoved down the high school stairs, incurring broken bones. John-Henry, known as Somerset, tells his fellow gang members it is “enough.” For Re it is not enough when he returns years later as a seasoned Detective, openly gay, and ready for vengeance against the past especially the rape and suicide of his adolescent lover.
In “Transposition,” Hazard and Somerset, entrenched as detective partners and having worked out some of their issues from the past, drop into an Agatha Christie – like setting outside Wahredua in the middle of a fierce snow storm just before Thanksgiving. Bodies gradually deplete the Corporate group assembled to participate in “trust building” murder mystery solving in a staged setting on the ground of a Victorian manor. At this point, the “Transposition” kicks in. Emery (RE) Hazard, the analytical thinker and problem solver of the detective pair becomes physically impaired in an altercation with one of the murders and subsequently incurs a severe infection. Re, disoriented and under the influence of sleeping pills that Somerset (Somers) has given him, subconsciously makes sexual advances to Somers who has similar feelings under the influence of alcohol. Somers snaps out of his drunken stupor and realizes that his detective partner can no longer fulfill his role as crime solver and analyst. Somers must be the “people” person, charming out of the remaining guests, pieces of the murder mystery AND crime solver. The guests react more favorably to Somers than Re who threatens physical violence if they do not tell the truth. One of the Transpositions is the detective roles between Hazard and Somerset.
Another “transposition” is the transgender character of Columbia who was formerly Colin. Another change from the expected is subconscious behavior of sexual advances between Hazard and Somerset. Hazard already has a very wonderful boyfriend, Nico; Somerset is trying to reconcile with his wife. The old Victorian manor itself was a place of dynastic power and became a place where corporate groups can have conferences. Another layer through the story is the sinister role of Wahredua’s Mayor in the redevelopment of this property and neighboring property for the Mayor’s real estate redevelopment projects. The properties appear to undergo transposition through the Mayor’s bloody and criminal real estate development. Apparently, the Mayor has not heard of eminent domain for economic development. It’s used (abused) very often. It’s just as painful, but somewhat less bloody.
Finally, the character of Nico, Hazard’s boyfriend is especially delightful. Both Hazard and especially Somerset enjoy thinking of Nico as immature, young. But Nico is 25 years old, a graduate student in theology. He’s worked his way through university by being a runway model. He’s loyal and understanding to Hazard. His only fault appears to be domestic abuse of textiles. He leaves cloths all over the apartment and never makes the bed. But Nico’s world is textiles. He’s an experience runway model. He tolerates Hazard’s preference for TV documentaries, especially those related to German manufacturing of cheesecloth. On that note, read this series. It’s great.
(reviewed the day of purchase)