Vermilion is the first in a series of four mysteries set in Boston in the 1980s and featuring the investigative duo of Daniel Valentine, a gay bartender and former social worker, and Clarisse Lovelace, his straight pal. Reading this light and breezy series set in the pre-AIDS period is a bit like stepping into a time machine. Written by the duo of Michael McDowell, who also worked as a screenwriter, and Dennis Schuetz, the books feature a central relationship that is cinematic and quippy in the manner of Nick and Nora Charles from the "Thin Man" movies. In Vermilion, the duo end up investigating the murder of a young gay hustler whose body turns up on the lawn of a homophobic lawmaker. When a detective comes around Valentine's bar asking questions and casting suspicion on Val himself, there is no choice but for our amateur sleuths to figure out the truth for themselves.
"The writing is easy and well-paced, the background of gay life - the bars, gym and bath-house - unobtrusively filled in, the relationship between Daniel and Clarisse amusing and believable" --Gay News
Who's likely to like this: Fans of the "Thin Man" movies