Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners—on and off the clock. Federal undercover detectives, they’re part of a covert task force designed to promote goodwill between the feds and local authorities. They lend an unobtrusive helping hand wherever it’s needed. No credit required.
Vinnie and Ethan work primarily in the Southeast region of the United States and live together in Richmond, Virginia. A mugger problem brings them to Roanoke, where Vinnie is thrown out as bait to catch the man who’s been snatching purses in a city park, but they end up with more than they bargained for. Why is Vinnie always the one who has to wear the dress? Ethan says it’s because Vinnie looks much prettier in a skirt. How can he argue with that?
Expecting to return to Richmond afterward, Vinnie and Ethan find themselves assigned a new case instead. They are to go undercover at The Stroll, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Roanoke. Someone is terrorizing both the customers and the performers. Could they be dealing with a hate crime? Someone has to protect the drag queens of Roanoke, so it’s Vinnie and Ethan to the rescue!
Bad Dogs and Drag Queens by Julie Lynn Hayes took a unique approach to the law enforcement trope. Vinnie and Ethan are partners, on and off their undercover FBI cases. The couple (who is out to their superiors) specializes in cases with elements of alternative lifestyles. In this instance, they need to infiltrate a gay club, which requires Vinnie to dress in drag.
At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about Bad Dogs and Drag Queens. The idea of a cisgender man going undercover as a drag queen felt inauthentic to me, which I realize it was meant to. Vinnie holds on tightly to his masculine identity off the clock and takes pains to ensure Ethan does too.
One of the great things about this couple is their absolute respect and admiration for each other. Their attraction and love radiated through every interaction – and that’s where the book’s strength came from. Though the writing was good, the ending felt rushed, perhaps too easy. But all and all this was a fun, light-hearted read.