The Haunted Heart and Other Tales by Jameson Currier

The Haunted Heart and Other Tales by Jameson Currier

Blurb:

Haunted? Or blessed? Ghosts? Or guardian angels? Twelve new stories of gay men and the memories that haunt them.

A circuit boy stays at a haunted hotel. An actor recounts a grisly murder in the English countryside. A gay parent unravels a mysterious souvenir. A journalist chases a story through the streets of Amsterdam. An artist grapples with his muse. A musician is inspired by the spirit of a sailor.

Jameson Currier modernizes the traditional ghost story with gay lovers, loners, activists, and addicts, blending history and contemporary issues of the gay community with the unexpected of the supernatural.

creepy crawling good..

Murder on Camac by Joseph R.G. DeMarco

Murder on Camac by Joseph R.G. DeMarco

Blurb:
When author Helmut Brandt is killed in an apparent mugging, P.I. Marco Fontana is hired by Brandt’s partner, who suspects this was premeditated murder.

Brandt’s work on the death of Pope John Paul I angered people in and out of the Church and made him more than a few enemies. His death happens soon after Brandt claims to have incontrovertible new evidence implicating people never before suspected.

Fontana doesn’t believe in coincidences and takes the case. A former Catholic himself, he knows that uncovering Brandt’s killer means more than exposing a thirty-year old plot to kill the Pope: it could also ruin the people named in the documents Brandt is supposed to have. Of course, if Brandt’s enemies have killed once over this information, they won’t hesitate to murder a P.I. who gets too close to the truth.

Entering the arcane world of the Catholic Church, Fontana encounters forces determined to keep him from getting to the truth. Though he manages to gain access to the upper levels of the Archdiocesan hierarchy, Fontana realizes that the web of power and deceit is every bit as intricate, tangled, and deadly as he imagined.

As the owner of StripGuyz, a troupe of male strippers, Fontana is no stranger to the seamier parts of the Philadelphia gayborhood. But in this case, he finds that there is an even murkier side to life in the city of Brotherly Love.

mystery and strippers.. what more could you want

The Phoenix By Ruth Sims

The Phoenix By Ruth Sims

Blurb:

At fourteen, Kit St. Denys brought down his abusive father with a knife. At twenty-one his theatrical genius brought down the house. At thirty, his past—and his forbidden love—nearly brought down the curtain for good.

A compelling Victorian saga of two men whose love for each other transcends time and distance—and the society that considers it an abomination. Set in the last twenty years of the 19th century, The Phoenix is a multi-layered historical novel that illuminates poverty and child abuse, theatre history in America and England, betrayal, a crisis of conscience, violence and vengeance, and the treatment of insanity at a time when such treatment was in its infant stage. Most of all it is a tale of love on many levels, from carnal to devoted friendship to sacrifice.

 

 

does anyone dislike this book?

A Triskaide collection by Steve Berman

 Trysts: A Triskaide collection Of Queer And Weird Stories by Steve Berman 

Blurb:

Steve Berman has assembled his most compelling stories of trysts that range from the eerie to the horrifying to the wondrous. Cut and paste a voodoo doll made of magazine clippings: watch as a ouija board spells out your deepest secret…mourn the loss of your boyfriend while awaiting his ghost… listen to the ancient whisperings of a threadbare flapper dress…gamble for more than money on a Southern riverboat…renounce your citizenship to walk through a restricted area, rife with magic. Experience passion and loss, all within the pages of this triskaide collection – thirteen stories where the supernatural is as likely to doom as to save those that are drawn to its power. Trysts offers readers dark and quirky tales from a distinctive new voice in gay fiction.

 

Another creepy, fascinating collection..

Second Thoughts by Steve Berman

Second Thoughts: More Queer and Weird Stories by Steve Berman

Blurb:

In Berman’s second collection of stories and essays, a scent of loneliness entices children to start eating away at a caretaker’s historic house; a nursery rhyme tempts a young love; and a meek accountant finds himself abandoning the mundane life he knew to chase after monsters.

 

 

Review:

This highly unique and masterfully written collection of short stories delivers a mixture of fantasy, horror, and fairytale. Often these elements are incorporated into a story inspired from common actions and giving rise to an imaginative world based on a different reality. After each short story is an author’s note that sometimes offers his explanation for the inspiration and sometimes is a narrative with no bearing on the previous story. Both the stories and notes are fascinating and compelling in their own right but not necessarily related, thus creating a larger collection within the book than originally intended. Either way, this is a fabulous group of stories and thoughts which will change upon each reading.

The subjects vary amongst the stories and notes, which also cast doubt on the veracity of the notes themselves. No doubt the narratives offered also contain some elements of fantasy and whimsy. Some of the inspiration that comes through repeatedly is an unrequited love interest of the author’s and the stark, lingering impact of such strong feelings. The undeniable romantic edge to the stories shines through brightest in the powerful story of young temptation based on a fairytale “Bittersweet” and the brilliant, futuristic tale “Tear Jerker.”

A few stories certainly stood out from the rest but there were no bad offerings in this diverse collection. The stunningly creative and witty alternate universe of “Caught by Skin” pops out from the collection, as does the note afterwards. This story is set in a reality where plastic surgery is the norm and gay men constantly remake themselves into the latest in fashionable faces. The twist at the end was slightly sad with a hint of hope, as with most of the stories. Also notable is “Always Listen to a Good Pair of Underwear” for its humor and delightful imagination. The peek-a-boo boxers who alternatively tease and taunt with forbidden flesh give a fun, tongue in cheek story with a cartoonish edge.

“A Rotten Obligation” is possibly my favorite of the group, though it’s hard to choose as some of the author’s notes could vie for that title as well. Here a young gay hustler is distracted from an obligation by a pretty young busboy. The mix of paranormal, romance, and reality all blend to create a witty and entertaining story with a great twist at the end. The snappy dialogue and quirky premise has me sorry the tale had to end and wondering about what came before and after the scene. This is the best kind of story that can spark the imagination of the reader as well.

The writing itself lacks any lyrical elegance but instead is able to evoke emotion and chills with simple turns of phrase and the highly original worlds of alternate reality. The style of writing changes often within the collection; sometimes narrative, sometimes fantasy and always giving entertaining dialogue with a punchy impact. The prose is sparse without unnecessary words and has an ease to the reading quality, compelling and engrossing the reader from the start. Although the material is not always light with numerous touches of horror and dark fantasy, humor and creative imagery are woven into the darkest of stories.

Fans of short stories will definitely want to read this collection, more than once. In no way is this collection limited to gay fiction but instead offer characters with gay sensibilities in a highly innovative reality. 

Get it HERE!

 

Whistling in the Dark By Tamara Allen

 Whistling in the Dark By Tamara Allen

Blurb:

His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after an affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, he heads to New York with no plans and little money—only a desire to call his life his own.

Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now hopes to save the family novelty shop by advertising on the radio, a medium barely more than a novelty, itself. His nights are spent in a careless and debauched romp through the gayer sections of Manhattan.

When these two men cross paths, despite a world of differences separating them, their attraction cannot be denied. Sutton finds himself drawn to the piano, playing for Jack. But can his music heal them both, or will sudden prosperity jeopardize their chance at love?

 

 

Another book on the keeper shelf…