Review: Red X by David Demchuk (๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ)

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Strange Light | 2021

Filed Under: Desperately trying to put that fourth wall back together


I really and truly wanted to love this as much as everyone else, but as should come as a surprise to literally no one, I did not. I liked it enough, but a few things were throwing me off – it reads like two different books, the pacing is all over the place and the anthology-style chapters became repetitive because there really didn’t seem to be a point.

I mean, I guess the point could be that bad things happen to the LGTBQ+ community and there really never is a “good” reason; it’s predictable and constant exists because of cruelty – the cruelty is the point.

But maybe that’s too subversive for my weed-addled brain, so I struggled to be totally engaged.

That said, this is an LGBTQ+ horror novel that would be perfect for your Pride reading list and there are a million other readers gushing over it, so take my review with a pinch of, like, whatever you want to pinch, I don’t know, it’s up to you but I’m not forcing salt on anyone.

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Review: Haus by P.J. Vernon

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Doubleday Books | 2021

Filed Under: Apparently, there’s not a lot of bathing in a bathhouse


Honestly, can we get more gay thrillers, please!

“Popularโ€ mystery/thriller fiction is lacking in LGBTQ+ centred stories and we all know it or a book like this wouldn’t be such a breath of fresh air. And that makes no fucking sense to me, if reactions to this book are any indication – there is obviously an audience for these stories in the thriller world. Like, the only difference between Bath Haus and a typical mainstream thriller is that the sex was hotter.

Truth Reaction GIF by MOODMAN

This novel was all juicy drama and twists, and I was totally enthralled. It was near perfection, except for oThis novel was all juicy drama and twists, and I was totally enthralled. It was near perfection, except that it takes its sweet time hitting the gas in the plot. Like there’s a whole scene of a medical conference speed. Zzzz I don’t care. But once you get past the first 100 pages, the story really settles into its stride.

Oliver, a reformed drug addict with a shady past, and his doctor husband, Nathan, have a beautiful life from the outside – a gorgeous renovated home, money and successful careers. But just like a perfectly curated Instagram account, looks can be deceiving. Nathan is controlling and Oliver is bored. So as the saying goes, when the cat’s away the mice will play.

While Nathan is away at a conference, Oliver and his wandering eye take a trip to a private, sexy bathhouse called Haus. Oliver ends up being terrifyingly assaulted by a perspective hook-up and that’s when shit really goes off the rails.

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LGBTQIA+ Mystery/Thriller Authors We Should Be Reading

While I was putting together a ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆPride book stack for a #bookstagram post in June, I realized that I didn’t really have (or know if I had) any queer authors on my shelves. I was disappointed that I couldn’t include queer authors while trying to acknowledge queer people, and was privately called out in my DMs for this as well after the post went up. Trust me, I hear you and I am listening! I weighed the pros and cons of that post extensively before deciding to go ahead with a caption focused on queer issues.

There have always been queer authors since the beginning of literature, but chances are that part of their life was not revealed until much later when societal norms shifted, or it was never revealed at all.

For instance, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Wolfe, James Baldwin, Truman Capote and Walt Whitman are all counted among the LGBTQ+ community. (Whitman is debated by historians as he was notoriously cagey about his personal life, but Wilde is quoted as confirming Whitman was gay and said, “I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips.”)

Speaking of Wilde, did you know that after a botched libel trial initiated by Wilde himself, evidence was present in court that proved Wilde was gay and he was subsequently arrested and jailed for two years (hard labour) for “gross indecency” with men?

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Wilde was released from prison in 1897 and published The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life, one year later. He died in 1900 at the age of 46 due to meningitis.

Today, there is a myriad of authors who are publicly “out” and there are others who just don’t feel a need to comment on such things. And honestly I understand it either way. On one hand it’s important to showcase representation for marginalized and oppressed groups, and on the other hand it’s not like straight authors ever have to make a statement about their straightness.

But, in honour of that sassy bitch Wilde, and all others who came before and after him, I present to you my round-up of LGBTQ+ mystery/thriller authors who are indeed out and proud. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but simply a place to start in order to help us diversify our bookshelves with dark and twisty stories that haven’t been written by the typically published cis, straight author.

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DNF Review: Murder on the Rocks by Clara Nipper

“I’m fighting crime with my twat.”

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Bold Stroke Books | 2016

DNF @ 52%

Filed Under: The Case of the Unexpected Butt Plug


Soooooo, honestly what the fuck is this? It’s been a while since I read something this cringe-worthy.

Part of my bookish New Years’ resolution is to tackle my backlog of Netgalley arcs that I’ve been slacking on reading so hard that it’s kind of embarrassing at this point. This is one of the books in my backlog. And it’s going to be my first ever DNF.

That’s right, this book has forced me to turn over a new leaf – my DNF leaf. That’s a thing.

First of all, let’s talk about how this is presented to the reader – as a detective crime fiction novel. But, as far as I read, this book fits that category in only the most basic sense.

The main character, Jill Roberts, is a detective. Check.

She visits a couple of crime scenes. Check.

And that’s about it.

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