- Acquaintance, Bk 1 of Medicine for the Blues trilogy
- Chicago Blues, Bk2 of Medicine for the Blues trilogy
- Dangerous Medicine, Bk3 of Medicine for the Blues trilogy
In a time when homosexuals had to hide their identity, Dr. Carl Holman’s status with the respected clinic where he works is imperiled by pressures from the Ku Klux Klan, societal expectations to marry, and other forces beyond his control. As compassion impels him to treat unorthodox cases involving addiction, birth control, and child abuse, he must make difficult decisions about his professional and domestic affairs. Can Carl and those he loves find a way to live authentic lives in a hostile world?
Tanya Guardino-Lopez on Goodreads wrote:
Thank you for this novel, and for this trilogy, Jeff Stookey. This has by far been one of the most exceptional reading experiences I have had in many, many months. It started off well in “Acquaintance”, got even better in “Chicago Blues”, but it this one “Dangerous Medicine” it’s like he was almost saving the best for last, having it all come together the way it did – that epilogue gave me chills, it was so powerfully, eloquently delivered. There is so much story and life, happiness and heartbreak in these pages, and Stookey did an impressive job facing head on many ‘controversial’ topics, from racism, birth control, family sexual abuse, STD’s, the ‘invisible’ influence of the KKK in society, … and just how anybody who was viewed upon as ‘different’ seemed to pose a threat and were treated so poorly. Carl, Jimmy… even Charlie and Gwen (and the many others who visit us here) are light years from the stock, typical protagonists, but instead all had problems and struggles, secrets, and serious obstacles to overcome, … I’ve been so into Carl and Jimmy’s storyline from the beginning, how even though they are lovers, at the heart of it they are best friends. And I just adore Gwen and Charlie. seriously. After reading this I definitely have a new understanding for what it’s like for people like them and what a challenge just living a normal life accepted by society is. Really makes you grateful that things have changed, yet in a way there is still so far to go. But their sexuality is just a part of this story--- there are so many other societal/historical elements to this book, it is almost on an epic scale. Perfect editing, pacing, presentation and I think this is a novel that defies genre – it could, and should, be read by a wide audience. I’d strongly suggest reading the entire series in order to genuinely experience the full breadth of this fascinating world.
mmeanswell on Instagram wrote:
This book… this entire trilogy by Jeff Stookey was incredible. I finished book 3, “Dangerous Medicine” a few weeks ago and am still digesting it. I can honestly say that I’ve never read something that so boldly explores not just one or two edgy themes/subjects, but several and done in a smooth, organic way that never felt contrived or convoluted. Reading book 1 “Acquaintance” I did like it, but I think it’s only after finishing this last one can I truly appreciate the scope of what Stookey accomplished here –not only is it entertaining, but also educational and so enlightening to see the many ways society was in the 20’s, from the lens of a gay man (whose sexuality is hidden mostly) -- one in a respected position to see firsthand the attitudes of the “Invisible Empire” to show us who they are and what they did in many insidious ways – abuse, intimidation, even rape and worse. It seems so odd to have to imagine two gay men married to two gay women so that they are safe from societies’ wrath…politically and religiously, and in that regard, it is nice to see how much better this has gotten in terms of acceptance and respect. Stookey was brilliant in his execution, starting with us seeing Carl’s life from when Jimmy left, and then smoothly transitioning to his return – like we didn’t miss a beat. Like the others, this does have some intense action along with the literary storyline – I was a little disappointed in reaching the end (I wanted more!), although the epilogue and the note were wonderful. I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Jeff Stookey and he writes many more novels to come! Highly recommend.
There is a temptation to try to categorize the 'Medicine for the Blues' trilogy written by Jeff Stookey as LGBTQ crime-drama-love stories, but these stories are not like other books that fall into such easy categorization. Though each book is very good and can be enjoyed as a single read, I reccomend reading all three, in order, as the best way to get to know the characters in this well told well written gay love story set during the prohibition era in 1920s Chicago and Portland, OR. The stories flow smoothly throughout the trilogy, to an agreeably satisfying end. Near the end of book three emphasis is placed on the characters' good fortune "to have loved and led such full rich lives", even though the bias and discrimination against women and LGBTQ people of the period is never understated.
The author's notes at the end of book three remind us that for all that we've gained in the past 50 years, the laws that granted women equal rights and freedom to make medical decisions based on individual needs, and the laws that legalized same sex marriage could be overturned by the current very conservative Supreme Court. To prevent the disingenuous, dishonest, oppressive conservative court from overturning these laws we must use the only thing we have, our votes. Please, use your vote in the upcoming elections.
Thank you Jeff Stookey