I spent a good portion of my “at work” down time last week reading the true crime work by Peter Conway and Andrew Stoner released in June, “Cobra Killer: Gay Porn, Murder, and the Manhunt to Bring the Killers to Justice“. Now, if you’ve been paying any attention to the types of books I write about at all, you already know that true crime is one of my favorite genres. I read a lot of true crime. I really wished I had pursued a law degree like I wanted to back in the day. I think I would have made a great prosecuting attorney…anyway, I digress.
I was pretty excited when I got my hands on this book. What could be better than a true crime story with both a gay slant and a seamy underside, sordid twist as well? It drove me nuts every time the phone rang at work and I had to put the book down.
The story revolves around the brutal 2007 murder of gay pornography film producer Bryan Kocis, the owner and operator of Cobra Video. Kocis was murdered in his own home by the tandam of gay males escorts, website owners and wannabe film producers Harlow Cuadra and his business and life partner Joseph Kerekes.
Stoner and Conway left no stone unturned in their research for this book. Other reviews complain about the lack of cited sources with in the text or in page footnotes (the authors cited all sources in Wikipedia style end notes at the back of the book), but the research is solid. Where they couldn’t put the pieces together, they went out and conducted interviews themselves to get a better view of the whole puzzle of events.
Make no mistake; Brian Kocis was a convicted pedophile and a pornographer. On typical social ladders, he wouldn’t be able to reach the first rung. Still, he was a human being with a family (parents and siblings) who cared about him deeply. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did, violently, for no reason other than a rivalry and a bout of greed that turned on a mistaken set of beliefs and circumstances. My opinion? Cuadra and Kerekes deserved more punishment than they ultimately got. Sean Lockhart (aka Brent Corrigan), despite his gay porn star occupation, deserves a lot of credit for coming forward and assisting with the investigation to bring Kocis’ killers to justice regardless of his personal animosity toward and his dislike of Bryan Kocis, given their shared history.
I was immersed in this book. That said, the modern penchant for constantly jumping back and forth in time is an element of style that’s used quite a bit here. It drove me crazy at times because I’m a linear thinker and I like to see the “timeline” of events in sequence but I was still engrossed and able to follow the threads of the story.
We’ll probably never know exactly what happened the in the house the night Bryan Kocis died. For now, Cuadra and Kerekes aren’t talking. Don’t let that keep you from reading this book though. It’s quite a case study into both the dangers of an entire industry and into what greed will make men do.