Short Reviews of Books and Films
Hart (played beautifully by Arye Gross) is gay, and comes from a small
town deep in the timber country of North-west Montana. When
grandfather, who has brought him up, has a stroke, Henry goes home to
help look after him. His best friend from high school whom he
still in love with, Dean Stewart (Tim DeKay), has also gone back to his
home town with
two young sons after
his marriage failed. The expected plot development would be
Henry and Dean would finally get together, and there are moments when
it seems as if this might happen. Instead Henry finds love in
In one way this film is completely
unrealistic: all the inhabitants of the town try to bring the
lovers together, and the cowboys who lounge on the front porch of the
general store watch the relationships with interest but without
judgement. Yet, you could argue that that is the way it should
be, and that in a town where everybody knows everybody else perhaps
such warm-hearted tolerance might actually occur. There were
plot infelicities (the resolution of the love between the two best
friends wasn't fully developed) but the acting was marvellous and the
story ultimately satisfying and heart-warming. I found myself
often smiling or chuckling. Given how long ago it was made
five years before Brokeback
Mountain) it's also fairly ground-breaking in that it
relationships as quite ordinary and normal.
did like: that the new lovers didn't fall into bed with each other or
even kiss each other, because the developing relationship was shown
much more subtly; the magnificent scenery; the many subtleties of the
story lines; the excellent acting; the unobvious way the story panned
out; the fact that they didn't hire only beautiful actors.
I didn't like: the way the two best friends' relationship wasn't fully
explored; and the ending.
I enjoyed it. The excellent acting and direction went a long
towards making the unlikely tolerance of this charming town plausible.
I recommend it to anyone interested in gay film.
Life and Other Misdemeanours
is Lorenzo Montesini's (AKA Prince Giustiniani's)
He describes a life born into the gilded elite in Alexandria,
family's emigration to Australia after the revolution in Egypt, his
military service in Vietnam, where he met his husband, Robert Straub.
For me the best part of the book was the first third, the
description of his life in Alexandria: exotic, fascinating,
remarkable. The book is worth it for that alone.
Giustiniani's life in Australia was far more plebeian, though he tried
to keep up some of the standards, becoming for example an expert on
antiques, and always ensuring that his dinner parties, even in a tiny
flat, were grand affairs, with the best crockery and cultery and
Like so many inhabitants of Alexandria, he is fluent in
languages, and this cultural diversity and familiarity colour his
perceptions of the world. The book is well-written, and
Montesini/Prince Giustiniani comes across as a most likable and
interesting bloke. And the descriptions of life in Alexandria
the 40s and 50s are fascinating.
Truth of Valor
Truth of Valor" is the best "Valor"
novel yet. Maybe Tanya Huff's best ever, apart from "The
Stone", which for personal reasons is a frequently reread favourite.
reviewed Valor's Trial in a previous Quickies,
you've read that, you'll know that I like this series and its heroine
latest installment in the series from Ms Huff is just so good in so
many ways. Firstly, Torin Kerr in an entirely
kick-arse heroine, tough, resourceful, cunning, yet also soft-hearted
-- and hot as. Sexy, clever, down-to-earth, feisty--what's
But it's more than that: Huff's bad guys are beautifully written
(evil is SO hard to write well), and naturally, they come to a
delicious and well-deserved sticky end. As usual in all
work, there is a matter-of-fact acceptance of homo- and bisexuality.
The di'Taykans for example, one of the four fighting species
by the Federation to fight its battles, are sex-obsessed, and
there is a wry and rather funny scene where Torin Kerr's de facto,
Craig, who hitherto has come across as 100% straight, gets it off with
a di'Taykan young man, or at least starts to . . . There is
a glorious space opera feel to the whole novel, and indeed the
whole series. The action is entirely convincing, as you'd
from someone who served in Her Majesty's Canadian armed forces, and
Torin Kerr always gives better then she gets. The author (and her
heroine) are cynical without being bitter (a signal achievment), and
the last couple of pages are darkly funny, with the promise of more to
come, as "Gunny" is getting a new role outside the Federation marines.
unputdownable, quite literally, reading it in one session, till all
hours of the morning. Engrossing, moving, satisfying, clever.
Move over, Elizabeth Moon: you have a formidable new competitor.
||Collected Novellas (Volume 1)
by Josh Lanyon
are three novellas and one short story in this collection, and each one
of them is excellent. Josh Lanyon writes m/m stories which
filled with the emotional and character-developing meat which makes
them eminently readable and involving. In Dangerous Ground ,
government agents Taylor and Will, are partners in their job
also have been lovers. A casino robbery finds
a game of cat-and-mouse with remorseless killers in the wilderness of
California's High Sierras. But the very realistic action is
entwined with reignition of the love between the two agents.
Very nice. Villains deftly and classily depicted
always the hallmark of a good thriller writer,
is set in post-war Los Angeles. Police detective Lt. Matthew
Spain meets reporter Nathan Doyle, where one arrives to
investigate a murder, and the other to report on it. Matthew
Spain has been married, but his wife is dead. And Nathan is
into the cum-and-go culture, dangerous for his self-respect and as
dangerous if he gets caught in one of the periodic vice-squad sweeps of
the meat racks. In post-WWII Los Angeles the potential
consequences of their attraction are serious, even though they're the
Cards on the
is about writer Tim North, who starts to write about a sensational Hollywood
committed decades before he was born. He assumes that
risk, since almost everyone
is dead or senile. Meanwhile Tim's ex, homicide
detective Jack Brady, still has a place in his heart. But Tim
knows it's over: Jack is too straight to love him. Tim
that he's wrong. About everything. Great plot, and even more
This collection includes the bonus short story In Sunshine or In Shadow.
It's about two cops, Kieran and Rick, who've been partnered
years, "longer than some marriages." Yet their relationship
more than just partners on the job, and somehow it's all
sour. The resolution is beautifully done: writing of the
is an entirely satisfying writer on every level. The writing
itself is superb, but unlike some authors whose writing is great but
whose stories have all the excitement of cat kibble, the stories are
gripping and exciting as well, and the people three-dimensional
They are the kind of stories you will read again and again because of
their depth and because you grow to care about the people in them.
||Lord of the White Hell
by Ginn Hale
I reviewed Wicked
and said that I looked forward to Ginn Hale's next novel.
it, and it's even better than Wicked
whole fascinating new fantasy world.
Kir-Zaki is the first pure Haldiim to attend the prestigious Sagrada
Academy. It's obvious that they only let him attend because
so gifted. Because he's despised and unwanted by the
who conquered his homeland centuries before, he gets put with a "mad"
nobleman, Javier Tornesal, who might be rich, famous and scandalous,
but pays for it because he is cursed by the evil powers of the white
hell. Kiram is attracted to Javier, but is Javier attracted to him?
Though the Haldiim accept and embrace same-sex love,
the Cadeleonians despise it. Yet far more is at
complex and believable world-creating, a steady build in narrative
tension, tasty sexual encounters, and an exotic and magical atmosphere
made this a really enjoyable read. The best of
'original slash': highly recommended.
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