by Matt Lubbers-Moore
In the last month, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Shortly before the invasion I was wandering around a local mall with a good friend of mine, and as we passed one empty storefront to another, we were approached by a group of young-ish young men who identified themselves as fifth graders sent by their social studies teacher to ask people what they think of Russia. Whether this story was true or not, I debated how much I really should say on my thoughts of Russia. I am a librarian, so I wanted to point out all of the research, the studies, the books on the subjects, but I also have a master’s degree in history, so I wanted to give a lecture on the Cold War, the moments of warming and freezing of diplomatic relations between Russia and the west. In the end, I gave a shortened version of each. Ultimately I told them that when the United States declared victory in 1991 of defeating Soviet communism with the fall of the Soviet Union and the election of Boris Yeltsin that we were being short sighted. The Cold War never ended. Russia, led by Vladimir Putin over the last two decades, has ever increased his influence over the Middle East by allying strongly with Iran and Syria as well as his attempt to influence the elections around the world, including the United States in 2016 and 2020.
What does the invasion of Ukraine have to do with upcoming LGBTQ mysteries? Russia is actively discriminating and killing LGBTQ people within their own borders and according to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations that “LGBTQI+ persons” are included on lists created by Russian forces of Ukrainians “to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation.” Russia has already encouraged the concentration camps of LGBTQ peoples in Chechnya, and now they seem to be ready to expand that to Ukraine in their attempt to protect Russia’s “traditional culture” from what he describes as an onslaught of modern values promoted by the West.
I stand with Ukraine and more importantly I stand with the LGBTQIA+ Ukrainian people! Check out Ukraine.Pride on Instagram and donate if you are able.
Upcoming LGBTQ Mysteries
School Days by Jonathan Galassi
Out April 5, Other Press
Sam Brandt is a long-term denizen of Connecticut’s renowned Leverett School. As an English teacher he has dedicated his life to providing his students with the same challenges, encouragement, and sense of possibility that helped him and his friends become themselves here half a lifetime ago. Then Leverett’s headmaster asks Sam to help investigate a charge brought by one of his classmates that he was abused by a teacher. Sam is flooded with memories, above all of his overwhelming love for his friend Eddie and the support of his most inspiring mentor, Theodore Gibson. Sam’s search for the truth becomes a quest to get at the heart of Leverett, then and now.
Judy Parker’s Totally Killer Mixtape by Jason Ryan
Out April 11
It’s the summer of 1996 and fourteen-year-old Judy Parker is putting together a mixtape for her crush, a classmate named Susanne. When Susanne goes missing, Judy channels her inner Nancy Drew to investigate, using the mixtape to keep track of her thoughts and feelings along the way. A mystery in thirteen tracks.
Gravedigger by Joseph Hansen
Out April 12,Soho Syndicate
Two years ago Charles Westover disgraced himself and his family when he was disbarred for bribery. Westover’s daughter Serenity, disgusted with her once beloved father, ran away to a cult founded by a mesmerizingly handsome young man, a self-appointed messiah going by the grimly grandiose name of Azrael. The whereabouts of Serenity pass unknown for years until the police raid Azrael’s compound and discover that the cult leader lived up to his ghastly “Angel of Death” moniker. Thinking his daughter has been murdered, Charles Westover claims her life insurance, and then, he, too, vanishes. Insurance companies don’t like to cut a check without a body and especially don’t like cutting a check to someone who is also missing. Hired as a private investigator for Banner Insurance, David Brandstetter quickly finds himself in a complicated maze of lies and hidden histories. And Dave suspects that, just like in the labyrinths of old, there will be a monster at the end of it. Sixth book in the Brandstetter series.
The Answers You Seek by Shannon Yarbrough
Out April 12, DSP Publications
Toby Kipton’s life is disintegrating. First he loses his job. Then, forced to leave the big city, he must return to his small hometown to bury his father. It only gets stranger and more dangerous from there. Toby becomes obsessed with his father’s mistress, a woman with whom his dad carried on a secret twenty-year affair. Unraveling the truth leads him deep into the nest of intrigue and vengeful gossip that plagues any small town, and soon Toby uncovers evidence that may tie his father to a local swingers’ club—and murder.
Summer’s Lease by J. A. Ironside
Out April 19, Blue Stone Press
Meghan is well aware that she’s no genius. But that’s okay because there are things she does know which no one else seems to grasp. She knows that if love is real, it’s worth fighting for, that it doesn’t come in convenient packages, and that trust, once broken, has to be carefully repaired. She also knows that the authorities are wrong about the missing teenage girl, because twenty-years ago, something very strange happened to Meghan herself. Not that anyone, including her parents, believed her. But this time, Meghan has friends who specialize in weird. Enlisting the help of Harker & Blackthorn, she puts fixing her wrecked love story on hold, determined to save a girl as lost as she once was herself. Eighth book in the Harker & Blackthorn series.
The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman
Out April 19, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were dropped only because Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name. She swore never to call a spirit again. For generations, Mina Zanetti’s family has used the ocean’s power to guide the dead to their final resting place. But as sea levels rise, the ghosts grow more dangerous, and Mina has been shut out of the family business. When her former friend Evelyn performs another summoning that goes horribly wrong, the two girls must uncover who was really behind the drowning summer murders—and navigate their growing attraction—before the line between life and death dissolves for good.
Knock Off the Hat by Richard Stevenson
Out April 26, Amble Press
It’s a steaming August in post-war Philadelphia. Clifford Waterman, dishonorably discharged from the Army for “an indecent act with a native” in Cairo, can’t go back to his job as a police detective and is struggling to make a go of it as a private investigator. He’s soon hired to help a young man caught in a gay bar raid who can’t afford the $500 bribe a corrupt judge demands to make a “morals charge” go away. In the blink of an eye, an entire gay neighborhood is suddenly under siege, and Waterman has to find out why the cops, courts, and the city powers that be have unleashed a wave of brutal gay-bashing—astonishing even for that time and place.
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