This spring the books that most caught my attention were a trio by old friends — Neil S. Plakcy, Jack Ricardo, and Marshall Thornton — plus a 1995 novel by Pete Dexter, which he adapted as the script for a quasi-controversial 2012 film. (more…)
A new Kate Scarpetta novel is always highly anticipated by devotees of lesbian detective fiction. Patricia Cornwell has been much in the news these days, and not just because of her new novel, The Bone Bed (Putnam), the 20th in her Kay Scarpetta series and her 30th book. (more…)
Spring hints and hovers as is always the case in March, but there’s still a chill in the air, which makes it so much easier to curl up with a good mystery than start that pre-Passover, pre-Easter, pre-equinox cleaning. It has been a dreadful winter, but I spent a lot of time checking out mysteries I should have already read as well as some brand new ones. (more…)
The novel Cold Feet by Karen Pullen is the first in a series of Stella Lavender Mysteries. Written in the first person, the story of Cold Feet is primarily seen and told through the eyes of North Carolina Special Agent Stella Lavender. Stella works as an undercover drug agent, usually at night and in dark, dangerous places. As the book opens, she is looking forward to attending an upscale outdoor wedding with her grandmother, Fern, an artist commissioned to illustrate a book cover for the mother of the groom. The ceremony is held at Rosscairn Castle Bed and Breakfast, built in 1915 as a replica of a Scottish castle. (more…)
Several winter evenings passed enjoyably because of new mysteries from Sam Cameron, Janice Law, David Lennon, Andrea Speed, and Joyce Thompson. Several times, in fact, I missed my usual bedtime because I had become so engrossed in the tale unfolding for me. Though very different in terms of plots and characters, thinking back I see they have one thing in common: while they were entertaining me, they made me think and feel. It is not lost upon me that four of the five authors are women. Given the flood of m/m romances these days, let me say up front that none of these novels fits the description (though Speed’s series is marketed as such). All these authors are interested in psychological truth rather than in titillation. Sex occurs, but never in detail and only as part of what drives the characters in a search for truth. The same comment applies to the heterosexual protagonist of the one new film mystery I found this winter. I wanted to see it for its take on the Marilyn Monroe legend and was surprised to discover that it also fits into this column. So here they are, in the order in which the books were published rather than that in which I read them, with some comments about the movie at the end. (more…)
Experts estimate that the number of transgender people in the human population ranges from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000. Compared to the estimated number of lesbian, gay, or bisexual people in any given human population, the number of transpeople appears quite small. This is why the following statistics may shock you: (more…)
I started my life of crime when I was nine. I was home sick from school—in bed for several days—and my mother brought me a little stack of books that were once hers. Poe, Conan Doyle and the inimitable Nancy Drew. Scenes from The Tell-Tale Heart, A Study in Scarlet and The Password of Larkspur Lane all resonate, still. (more…)
When friends, including mystery writers, learned that I was compiling my list of the ten best gay film mysteries, several expressed surprise that I could find that many. Actually, my problem was narrowing down the enormous number of possibilities. The new edition of my book The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film (Scarecrow Press, November 2012) lists some 130 titles for me to choose from, 1948-2011, this number including only films with some kind of a gay investigator. In addition to these, I could also consider, though I decided not to, any number of television and video serials, such as episodes from Dalziel and Pascoe, 1996-2002, and the powerful miniseries The State Within, 2006. Plus, there are over 100 pornographic films that I also eliminated, though some are of surprising interest, from Greek Lightning, 1973, and The American Adventures of Surelick Holmes, 1975, through The Roommate, 1993, to Focus/Refocus, 2009.
Culture critic Jillian Steinhauer has an online article “127 Reasons Why We’re Fascinated by Lists” (The Awl, 7 Feb. 2012). She notes that list-making is “an act of curation,” and she quotes Andrew Sarris that, “with a 10-best list, a critic puts his or her tastes on the line.” But nowhere among her 127 reasons does she argue that celebration can be a motive. Yet isn’t that what was going on at the end of the last century when we got lists of the 100 best of everything imaginable? A personal celebration led to this column. The day before (appropriately enough) Thanksgiving, my copies of the new and expanded edition of my book The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film: A History and Annotated Bibliography (Scarecrow Press, 2013) arrived.
When Jane Lawless, newly minted private eye, receives a voicemail message from her PI partner’s nephew, she has no idea that he’s already dead. DeAndre Moore was knifed outside a strip club, Gaudy Lights, before Jane ever had a chance to contact him. DeAndre’s uncle, Alf Nolan, is stunned. Alf’s sister had adopted DeAndre many years earlier, and the young man was the last person anyone expected to be murdered. When Alf is hospitalized due to complications from an old gunshot wound (which he received while protecting Jane), it’s up to Jane to find out what happened to DeAndre.