Saturday, June 08, 2024

Thirteen top queer thrillers & mystery novels

John Copenhaver’s historical crime novel, Dodging and Burning, won the 2019 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. His second novel, The Savage Kind, won the 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Mystery. He cohosts on the House of Mystery Radio Show, is the six-time recipient of Artist Fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and for years, wrote a crime fiction review column for Lambda Literary called “Blacklight.”

[The Page 69 Test: The Savage Kind; My Book, The Movie: The Savage Kind]

Copenhaver teaches fiction writing and literature at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a faculty mentor in the University of Nebraska’s Low-Residency MFA program.

His new novel is Hall of Mirrors.

At Electric Lit Copenhaver tagged thirteen novels by queer writers with queer characters and "speak to the history of queer mysteries and thrillers, tell us something about crime fiction today, and of course, because they are great books." One title on the list:
The Lost Americans by Christopher Bollen

Bollen’s most recent stand-alone thriller follows Cate Castle as she travels to Cairo to investigate her brother Eric’s suspicious death, a fall from a hotel balcony that the local authorities have deemed a suicide. Eric works for a shady corporation, Polestar, that supplies missiles to authoritarian governments. When Cate orders an autopsy on Eric’s body, the result points to foul play, and despite Polestar’s intimidation tactics, she heads to the Middle East. In Egypt, she teams up with a gay, Western-educated Egyptian, Omar. They work together to unwind the mystery, which has the ambiance of a Graham Greene novel, the twists and turns of an Agatha Christie tale, and an ending with lasting emotional resonance. It’s a compelling exploration of how it feels to be queer in a country where widespread legal and cultural discrimination is the norm.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Americans.

--Marshal Zeringue