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Posted: May 10, 2020

I will definitely look for more Dan Sharp mysteries

Book Review

By Derryll White

Round, Jeffrey (2018).  The God Game

“The flower of politics is war.”  — Mother Teresa

One of the benefits of a new city for a period of time is new libraries and used book stores. This translates into an exposure to new authors, and Jeffrey Round is one of these. He is Canadian and sets the Dan Sharp mystery series in Toronto.

Jeffrey Round takes up a lot of space. He talks forcefully and clearly about democracy, both the frailties and the strengths. The novel explores prestige and power, naming names. Round is probably the first author I have read to question the legitimacy of C.S.I.S. and the power that organization wields.

In looking at the frailties and challenges of the gay world the author asks the reader to check out what he or she is familiar with, and suggests it not be taken at face value. ‘The God Game’ looks at many things – relationships with parents, the validity of political systems, the maps people create with which to judge the world they inhabit.

Jeffrey Round is not so bold as to suggest what is right or wrong for the reader. He does, however, suggest that personal questions be asked – by and of everyone. I will definitely look for more Dan Sharp mysteries.


Excerpts from the novel:

POLITICS – While Canada’s history was less bloody than most, of late Dan felt his fellow Canadians had developed a smug attitude toward politics.  So it had come as a shock to them when the folks at Toronto’s city hall were forced to deal with a crack-smoking mayor who befriended gang members and became the subject of police investigations, raging and rampaging at foes and allies alike, his infantile behaviour making headlines around the globe.

POLITICIANS – Dan was well aware that political discussions were not infrequently conducted like hockey games, one of the nation’s favoured pastimes, after drinking beer and complaining about the weather.  Violence and vitriol were common, the participants treating each other like the bitterest of enemies until the need for compromise arose and something like détente occurred.  It was as hypocritical and dishonest an occupation as any to be found among human affairs, so who could resist?

HUMAN RIGHTS – “The game can change overnight.  People scoff when I say a man like Hitler could take power again, but the Weimar Republic had a very advanced gay community and liberal values.  It was a golden era with many holding the same ideals we prize today.  Gay night clubs by the dozen, books and films dealing directly with queer issues.  But Weimar led straight to Hitler and the Nazi takeover. Without realizing it, the entire country was just one step away from total insanity.” He held up a finger: from art critic to historian. “The lessons of history are hard, Sam.  In case you didn’t know.”

RAP – “Get it?  What’s to get?” Donny shrugged.  “Rap isn’t a mystery.  It’s cultural empowerment.  It’s a protest against racism, poverty, oppression.”

“it’s also anti-gay,” Probin groused.

“Not at all.  They’ve got a few girl rappers and gay rappers to round out the diversity factor,” Donny said.

HISTORY – Will sneered.  “You know what they say – history’s a whore.  She favours the man with the gold watch and the fat wallet.  She lifts her skirt for the boys who run the show. The power-mad.  The money-hungry.”

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.

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