RaveLambda LiteraryWhat makes Bath Haus so engaging is that Vernon gives Oliver many layers. He’s not superficial or hedonistic or merely foolish. You can’t write him off. Trauma clouds his past ... Vernon knows how to grab you from the first line and not let go; he also knows that plot means nothing without a character we can root for, even when he’s making terrifyingly dangerous choices ... As you read, the pages fly by—the writing is very good ... more...than sheer entertainment.
PositiveLambda Literary... a rich sense of time and place ... flawed central characters who navigate murky moral waters ... As a reader, you’re aligned with their hunger to level-up economically and, as they wander through Bollen’s gorgeously described Venice, aesthetically ... Bollen...embrace[s] moral complexity in their crime novels. While that may not produce ‘likable’ characters, it does produce truly fascinating characters...whose ambitions and flaws make them unmistakably human.
PositiveLambda LiteraryThis seventeen-year-old protagonist flirts heavily with well-wrought likability but makes enough bad decisions and exposes enough of his rough-edges to offer the reader a complex and compelling portrait of teenage life, the sort of teenage protagonist I hunger to read ... Aidan is a post-millennial gay protagonist who’s refreshingly unselfconscious about his sexuality ... he is charming, if not entirely believable in the action scenes and moments of high anxiety. It’s all kept at a jaunty distance. (This is true of many a YA novel. Perhaps by design) ... For me, the most riveting moments in this thriller were the quiet ones, where Aiden struggles with his own demons.
PositiveLambda Literary\"Katrina Carrasco’s debut thriller reminds me that crime fiction can produce flexible, dynamic characters and plotlines. In a genre that often relies on stock characters like the hard-boiled detective, the femme fatale, the tough gangster, and the angelic ingénue, a reader will feel refreshed to see that Carrasco challenges those types of characters without turning against them ... As much as Alma’s character gripped me, I wanted to understand her better. I hoped to know how she came to be, to see her reflect on her persona as Jack and what that masculine identity means to her ... While some readers may argue that Alma doesn’t fully understand herself, she doesn’t seem to care to. This character is a force to be reckoned with–not to mention, she is a blast to read.\
RaveLambda Literary\"Author of fifteen novels, Michael Craft is best known for his Mark Manning mysteries about a gay investigative reporter who moves from Chicago to Dumont, Wisconsin, to become publisher of the local daily. His new novel, FlabberGassed: A Mister Puss Mystery, begins a new cozy series that features the clever and dashing gay architect, Brody Norris, as an amateur detective; a cast of diverse and eccentric locals; and the eponymous Mister Puss, a (sort of) talking cat ... As a reader, I don’t usually reach for a cozy...but Craft’s delightful prose and warm wit, finding myself charmed by this quirky and insightful mystery.
PositiveLambda LiteraryCrime fiction has come a long way in portraying women in central roles. Although...writers like Val McDermid...have been publishing these characters for years, even a decade ago, having strong and complex woman character at the center of a crime novel made it harder to publish...Now, that seems far from the case ... Gale Massey’s The Girl from Blind River, set in a small town in upstate New York, tells the story of nineteen-year-old Jamie Elders, a poker savant, who hopes to escape Blind River and flee her family, an oppressive criminal patriarchy, lead by her vicious uncle ... In a family as toxic as the Elders, Jamie’s intelligence, grit, and compassion for her gay brother suggest what a family should be, not a hostile patriarchy, but a place of acceptance and freedom.