Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dirty Pop

So, technically, I read Mark Richard Zubro's Dead Egotistical Morons back in 2003 when it came out, but I wasn't running this blog back then.

Also, I remain surprised this particular book didn't get more press with its overall plot line.

Paul Turned is a Chicago detective, who, along with his partner Fenwick, gets called out to Chicago's All-Sports Arena where Roger Stendar, one of the 5 singers of Boys4U has been found shot execution style in the showers following the final show.  What follows is a very soapy murder mystery that roughly corresponds to what would happen if N*SYNC revealed a bunch of information about how they'd all been... involved... with each other, with their producer, with their choreographer...

Really, it's a lot more over the top than I remember. The main reason it stuck out in my mind was the Lance Bass character actually being gay. (In 2003, the real Lance wasn't quite the gay superstar he is in 2015.)  Zubro wrote quite a few of the Paul Turner mysteries, as well as the Tom & Scott mysteries, which were also fun and soapy. (One was a teacher, the other a baseball player.) Only real issue I ever had with them was the continuity between books was always quite a bit off, as if the timeline got thrown out the window every time someone gets killed.

Anyway, reading gay mysteries again got me thinking about how mysteries were one of the few big genres I could reliably find gay materials in when visiting a bookstore. (This is not to say that they didn't exist, but much of it was pulpy romance, or not in a genre I really wanted to start getting involved with (Sadly, Sci-Fi and fantasy are really underrepresented in books with gay protagonists. A few exist, but even then, if you manage to get a gay character, it's essentially the gay bff.)

So, with that in mind, I went digging through amazon trying to remember some of the authors and series that used to captivate me when I could afford to go book shopping.

Nathan Aldyne wrote a series that started with Vermillion, that took place in pre-HIV Boston/Provincetown. Mostly I remember the first murder involving someone getting a Prince Albert and really bot enjoying what happened after. (Loved the book, but yeah, lots of crossed legs.)

David Stukas wrote a series of books that started with Someone Killed his Boyfriend. Very silly, very CAMPY, but also fun to read.

RD Zimmerman wrote the Todd Mills Mysteries. These started with Closet, which was fairly campy, then went really serious really quickly. It was probably the first time I really started encountering the anger about how People with HIV/AIDS were being treated in regular fiction.

I can't find the gay espionage mystery series I used to love to read, so if anyone remembers, let me know.

There's also the classic Mabel Maney A Ghost in the Closet, which was 3rd in a series parodying Nancy Drew. This book introduced The Hardly Boys, and had Nurse Cherry Aimless, whom Nancy Clue was sort of in love with.

As I've mentioned previously, I'm quite ecstatic that gay lit has expanded beyond the borders I found when I came out in the 90's. Mind you, they still mostly concern gay folks who are a lot higher on the social ladder than I am, but then I doubt books concerning gay men in their late 30's working retail would sell particularly well.

As a note, I have 2 other Zubro mysteries in the TBR shelf, so you may see a few more showing up on here over time.