by Matt Lubbers-Moore
For a part time job, I work at Argos Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a used book and comic book store. Today I had a customer come up and ask me if we had Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. This is a book we are constantly asked for by young people just discovering literature outside of young adult novels, along with 1984, Animal Farm, A Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and Slaughterhouse Five. The customer today slaughtered the name Kerouac.
I remember reading a meme on Facebook several times not to judge people for mispronouncing words or names because the individual probably learned the word through reading and had never heard it pronounced before. I love this meme because I have slaughtered words and names many times because I have learned a lot of words through reading but have no idea how they are pronounced. I wish I did what my husband does. He goes on Youtube to see how the word is pronounced when he isn’t sure. I typically make up my own pronunciations.
I am very supportive of correcting people’s pronunciation if I know the correct term because when I was in my early 20s I was in another used bookstore where I asked for Jack Kerouac books and was rudely laughed at for how I pronounced the name. Appalled that the store worker mocked me, I refused to buy anything at all which brings me back to the customer today. I did let him know how to pronounce Kerouac in a kind way.
Department of Death by Lev Raphael, Perseverance Press
Out April 9, 2021
This is the tenth book in the academic mystery/suspense series featuring English Professor Nick Hoffman. Years ago Nick Hoffman was given a position in the English Department at the State University of Michigan because SUM wanted to hire his partner as writer-in-residence, but now he’s been unexpectedly installed by his dean as chairman of that department. It’s a wildly unpopular choice, and he’s suddenly the focus of more animosity from his colleagues than he’s ever dealt with before. Someone seeking his help is murdered, and under the shadow of another recent murder, Nick is a prime suspect. ReQueered Tales is also republishing Little Miss Evil, the fourth Nick Hoffman book, in May.
Zero Chill by Carolyn Elizabeth, Bella Books
Out April 20, 2021
Corey Curtis and Thayer Reynolds are more than happy to put the days of their turbulent courtship behind them. With the holidays upon them, they’re looking forward to celebrating with friends and family, intimate moments alone, and festive surprises.
And in Corey’s world, nothing says Christmas quite like a frozen body. One that Corey must defrost in order to close out her next case. The discovery of the deceased’s possible connection to Thayer inflames the still healing wounds of their recent trauma and sends them both reeling back into a world of uncertainty and turmoil.
The Cutie-Pie Murders by Don Travis, Dreamspinner Press
Out April 20, 2021
When BJ Vinson agrees to investigate the murder of young Mateo Zapata, he knows it will be a tough case. Not only is the victim’s uncle Zancon the mob underboss BJ took down six years earlier, but Matt seems to be the third victim of a depraved serial killer who debauches his victims before strangling them. This is the seventh book in the BJ Vinson series.
Finding the Vein by Jennifer Hanlan Wilde, Ooligan Press
Out April 20, 2021
This debut novel is set outside of Portland, Oregon, at Heritage Camp, a summer retreat for adopted international children, where adoptees can explore their identities and bond over their shared experiences. When camp counselor Paul goes into fatal anaphylactic shock one evening, everyone believes it to be a tragic accident. But Sergeant Mikie, a former ER nurse, and her new partner Detective Wu aren’t so easily convinced.
Divas, Death, and Drag by Shane Morton
Out April 26, 2021
This second book in the Drag Queen Detective series is set around Maple Bay which is hosting the Ms. Gay West Coast Pageant and Victor’s drag queen persona Raven Ronelle is the emcee and organizer. It’s a huge event for the town and everyone is excited. For someone, excitement means murder. As the drag queens suffer multiple attempts on their life, Victor enlists the help of his best friend and his boyfriend, Sheriff Hottie, to sleuth out the truth.
Lies With Man, by Michael Nava, Amble Press
Out April 27, 2021
I know this was in last month’s column, and I will try very hard to not include duplicates like this, but Michael Nava is one of the founding fathers of the gay mystery genre and therefore should get a little special treatment!!
Los Angeles, 1986. A group of right-wing Christians has put an initiative on the November ballot to allow health officials to force people with HIV into quarantine camps? and it looks like it’s going to pass. Rios, now living in LA, agrees to be counsel for a group of young activists who call themselves QUEER (Queers United to End Erasure and Repression). QUEER claims to be committed to peaceful civil disobedience. But when one of its members is implicated in the bombing of an evangelical church that kills its pastor who publicly supported the quarantine initiative, Rios finds himself with a client suddenly facing the death penalty. The new book three is in the Henry Rios series.
Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey, William Morrow & Company
Out April 27, 2021
Thora and Santi are strangers in a foreign city when a chance encounter intertwines their fates. At once, they recognize in each other a kindred spirit, someone who shares their insatiable curiosity, who is longing for more in life than the cards they’ve been dealt. Only days later, though, a tragic accident cuts their story short. But this is only one of the many connections they share. Like satellites trapped in orbit around each other, Thora and Santi are destined to meet again: as a teacher and prodigy student; a caretaker and dying patient; a cynic and a believer. In numerous lives they become friends, colleagues, lovers, and enemies. But as blurred memories and strange patterns compound, Thora and Santi come to a shocking revelation—they must discover the truth of their mysterious attachment before their many lives come to one, final end.
Learn about even more Queer Crime Writers on the Queer Writers of Crime podcast hosted by Brad Shreve.
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