Early Graves is one of the better volumes in Hansen's Dave Brandstetter series. The twists and turns in Brandstetter's investigation into a series of murders of AIDS victims kept me guessing till the end. As usual, Hansen introduces a number of memorable characters and revisits characters from previous volumes in this book. And his evocation of southern California is spot on, as usual. Brandstetter's relationship with his boyfriend, Cecil, has hit a hard patch because Cecil went more than a little overboard by marrying a girl he thought he could help no other way. This problem was apparently resolved in a deus ex machina authorial move at the end of the book (the primary reason why I could not give this book 5 stars). For me, however, what sets this volume apart from the other Brandstetter mysteries is Hansen's laconic and directly to the point evocation of the panic, dread and resultant compounding of the human tragedy of the AIDS epidemic in the mid eighties, which Hansen wrote in 1987 - not with the advantage of hindsight. Joseph, if you can read this, kudos !!!