by Matt Lubbers-Moore
Amazing that another year is almost at an end. This year certainly has had its ups and downs professionally and personally. ReQueered Tales lay low for most of the year with very few releases compared to previous years. However, we had some amazing titles come out: Skydiving on Christopher Street by Stan Leventhal, Drylands End and its sequel Betrothal at Usk by Felice Picano, Dead as a Doornail by Grant Michaels, Long Goodbyes by Nikki Baker, and Little Miss Evil by Lev Raphael. In 2022, we expect to see a lot more releases by authors like John Morgan Wilson, Edward O. Phillips, Lauren Wright Douglas, Richard Hall, Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, Nikki Baker, and, new to ReQueered Tales, Richard Stevenson!
Hope everyone has a great holiday season and can curl up with a great mystery!
Broken and Weary by Adrian J. Smith, out December 1, 2021: With two new cases in hand, Detective Grace Halling is determined to solve them before Christmas. A missing teenage foster kid, Grace suspects, is running from something bigger than anyone knows, and a missing middle-aged dad walked his front door without his shoes in the dead of winter.
What Happened to Coco by V. B. Furlong, out December, 4, 2021: Coco is missing. Her room’s a mess, and her phone has been left behind in her dorm at Lainsbury Hall School. Ella, Coco’s childhood best friend, is desperate for her to return, although she knows that if she ever sees Coco again, there’ll be a lot of explaining to do. Bea knows that her new group of friends attracts drama, and she thinks she has the last shred of common sense between them all. Only, if that was true, she would leave Genevieve, her toxic ex, alone. Conrad is confident that Coco will return safe and well. Only, the way his secrets are unravelling, he’s worried he won’t be safe and well when this is all over. Harrison and Coco are the perfect couple. Everyone knows that. But looks can be misleading. Even the smartest boy in school can make a terrible mistake. In order to navigate the web of secrets and lies that Coco leaves behind, her circle of friends needs to unravel a few of their own. But the question remains: What happened to Coco?
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling, out December 7, 2021: Elise Beaumont is cursed. When she touches anyone, she experiences exactly how they will die. And after her brother’s death—a death she predicted but was unable to prevent—Elise is desperate to get rid of her terrible talent, no matter the cost. Claire Montgomery also has a unique relationship with death, mostly because she’s already dead. Technically, anyway. Claire is a vampire, and she’s been assigned by the Veil to help Elise master her rare Death Oracle powers. At first, Elise is reluctant to work with a vampire, but when she predicts a teacher’s imminent murder, Elise is determined to stop the violent death, even if it means sacrificing her own future to secure Claire’s help. The trouble is, Claire and Elise aren’t the only paranormals in town—a killer is stalking the streets, and Claire can’t seem to shake the pull she feels toward Elise, a romance that could upend the Veil’s mission. But as Elise and Claire grow closer, Elise begins to wonder—can she really trust someone tasked with securing her loyalty? Someone who could so easily kill her? Someone who might hold the key to unraveling her brother’s mysterious death?
Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon by Lee Patton, out December 14, 2021: When Ray O’Brien volunteers to raft the Grand Canyon with a research team, the last thing he expects is murder. After a few days on a stretch of river closed to the public, one of the volunteers is found dead on a secluded beach. Sixty miles of wilderness makes contact with other people impossible; the group must carry on in total isolation, sure someone committed murder and may kill again.
Intermingled by Smita Bhattacharya, out December 15, 2021: Paul, Krishna, Gloria, and Varsha have nothing in common, except that they all have time on their hands to take Spanish language classes and are free for an hour afterward to hang around in a café. Over the course of three months, the four grow close to each other, sharing the joys and tribulations of their lives. Paul is lonely after his wife’s death and wanders about the city, collecting plants. Krishna is rich, lazy, and spoilt; he is trying to woo Gloria. Gloria has a traumatic past and a penchant for gore. She also has a stalker whose attention she seems to enjoy. Varsha is the cliché of a hassled homemaker. The hour spent at the café is a respite from her daily drudgery. But none of them is ordinary. Each hides a dark secret, and in unexpected ways, gets entangled in each other’s lives. Chaos ensues.
By Way of Sorrow by Robyn Gigl, out December 28, 2021 (this is the paperback release of this book): Four months ago, William E. Townsend, Jr., son of a New Jersey State Senator, was found fatally stabbed in a rundown motel near Atlantic City. Sharise Barnes, a nineteen-year-old transgender prostitute, is in custody, and given the evidence against her, there seems little doubt of a guilty verdict. Erin knows that defending Sharise will blow her own private life wide open, and doubtless deepen her estrangement from her family. Yet as a trans woman, she feels uniquely qualified to help Sharise, and duty-bound to protect her from the possibility of a death sentence. Sharise claims she killed the Senator’s son in self-defense. As Erin assembles the case with her partner, former FBI agent Duane Swisher, the circumstances hint at a more complex and chilling story with ties to other brutal murders. Senator Townsend is using the full force of his position and connections to publicly discredit everyone involved in defending Sharise. Behind the scenes, his tactics are even more dangerous. His son had secrets that could destroy the senator’s political aspirations—secrets worth killing for. And as leads begin mysteriously disappearing, it’s not just the life of Erin’s client at stake, but her own…
I know this next title is not a December release but it needs to be mentioned.
Fadeout by Joseph Hansen, out January 11, 2022: This the first in the groundbreaking Dave Brandstetter series being republished by Soho Syndicate with a new foreword by Michael Nava. Originally published in 1970, this mystery shattered stereotypes and redefined who could be a private eye! Joseph Hansen is often referred to as the father of the gay mystery genre and I find it thrilling that the series is being republished.
Set in the mid-1960s, Fadeout centers on the disappearance of a southern California radio personality named Fox Olson. A failed writer, Olson finally found success as a beloved folksinger and wholesome country raconteur with a growing national audience. The community is therefore shocked when Olson’s car is found wrecked, having been driven off a bridge and swept away in a fast-moving arroyo on a rainy night. A life insurance claim is filed by Olson’s widow, and the company holding the policy sends their best man to investigate. The problem is that Olson’s body was never found. Not in the car, not further down the river. As Dave Brandstetter begins his investigation he quickly finds that none of it adds up.
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