The brutality of the AIDS epidemic and a nation's growing homophobia set the stage for a serial killer targeting gay men in Los Angeles—and Dave Brandstetter finds himself in the killer's path.
Dave Brandstetter's afternoon does not begin well: his ex-boyfriend picks him up at the airport, and the ride home — in bumper-to-bumper Los Angeles traffic — is one long argument between them. The insurance investigator's day gets worse when he finds a man — bloody, rain-soaked, and ice cold — lying on his porch, killed by a stab wound while Dave was out of town.
There is a serial killer loose in Los Angeles, and this man is his sixth victim. Like the others, he had already been marked for death – by the unforgiving plague known as AIDS. Someone is targeting sick men in the city, and Dave's search for the killer leads him into the dark side of gay Los Angeles, where death comes without warning and life is a fearful dream.
Decades after its original publication in 1987, Early Graves remains an important literary achievement. The exigence of Joseph Hansen’s frontline reportage of the AIDS epidemic is as powerful as his prose craft and mystery plot are clever.