Sunfish & Starfish: Tropical Drag Queen ...
Oh dear...How I wanted to like this book!..
The blurb sounded INTERESTING, promising and fancy. I watched some movies about the world of drag but I have never read a full-length novel where the main characters were drag performers, these beautiful creatures who use their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to entertain and mesmerise!
And, be honest, how often do you come across a book with TWO drag queens at the same time in a leading role?
And not just some novel - a mystery
! And not just a mystery, but one of the best mysteries of the year
, because this book was nominated for the 28th Lambda Award in the category Gay Mystery!
Maybe I had too high expectations, we all know that high expectations SOMETIMES could be very tricky.The good things: Extraordinary and likable protagonists
. This duo has potential to fill a niche in MM genre.
Larry and Oscar are not a love couple, but best friends and partners on stage. They differ not only in appearance, they are different also in their ideas and ways of living and thinking. Larry - the six-foot-two, two-hundred-fifty-pound hairy bear of a man - has his feet planted firmly on the ground, he lives together with Stan, his life partner since 15 years. The ever single Oscar, a star-spangled Hispanic, 12 years younger than Larry, is hopelessly romantic young man with dreams too big for the real world
. A decent writing style.
The author is a full-time ghostwriter and novelist. He is not a beginner in this field, and one can feel it.My issues:
What disappointed me mostly was a mystery part. When I pick up the book, that is supposed to belong to one of the best gay mysteries of the year, I expect a mystery, that will keep me on the edge of my seat all the time, I expect to be stuck to it and not to be able to put it down.
For the most part of the book I felt bored. And irritated. Because I didn’t see what Oscar saw, and I wasn't convinced with the explanations the author delivered me trying to justify Oscar's annoying behavior. An expensive
lonely left (or was it right?) shoe
under a dumpster in a parking lot leads to surveillance video
that recorded two fighting people without giving away their faces, and this video in turn leads to a very reach girl
with a black eye, THAT in turn leads to a BAD BOYFRIEND
. OH HOW AWFUL. (I'm trying not to be sarcastic)
You HAVE to have a VERY good fantasy and a well-developed six sense to suspect something wrong here, and it is exactly what everyone DID NOT.
Except Oscar. He sacrificed his free time, his power and sanity hunting a BAD BOYFRIEND of an occasional reach girl whose problems he takes VERY personally, following her every step and begging her to report it to the police. I don’t know what I as a reader was supposed to feel. Probably compassion with the victim and admiration for Oscar’s exemplary moral courage, but all I felt was non-stop-eye-roll and annoyance.
The easiness with that Oscar got an access to this reach circle (maids, house, friends, clubs), the eagerness with that everyone chattered with him about family and other secrets, delivering all kind of information he needed was very unbelievable. All he had to do was just to say, "I'm a friend of...."
Of course he was much luckier with his ingenious method than the police. WHAT A LUCK (Again I'm trying not to be sarcastic) .
The fact that he WAS right with his suspicions, became irrelevant at the end, because 1)
I didn't care 2)
of course you can find a crime behind many domestic violence cases that CAN look innocent at the first sight, but IF an author decided to make a thrilling story out of it, then he HAS to put more credibility, more healthy sense in the actions of his amateur sleuth.
Sure, an author can do it without any logic, but at least he can make it FUNNY and WITTY. It is always helpful when any good sense is secondary.
And it is WHERE I come to my second complaint: I wish the story would be more humorous and have more funny situation
, because OBVIOUSLY two drag artists offer all these good stuff by themselves. There were some humor but not enough for my liking.There are two subplots to the main story line: I have to confess that I like them more than the main one
Edward Hannandale, a politician and a priest who names himself reverend
and who is well known for his hate speeches towards gay society has been accidentally photographed in a gay bar during the show of Oscar and Larry. Suddenly Larry, together with Hannandale, are the number one news on all TV channels. And Jerry's gay bar, a home stage for our boys, is occupied by all news team of the country. The whole situation got out of control. My favorite subplot!
Oscar and his love affair(s). Did he really mean it - AT LAST to leave Niko behind and make place for a new real relationship?
I understand that as a starter for a new series, the tasks of the first book was to provide readers with the first insight into surroundings, characters’ lives, it has to introduce not only those who play the main role in the series, but also those who play the second part. I can imagine, that I’ll like the next book more. The first case was solved and maybe the next case will be more interesting for me, and if there will be also more of a private life of our protagonists and less of a private life of people that are less interesting (to me), then I'll probably enjoy it much more.
I have though to warn you, that I'm in the minority with my opinion, and it looks like other readers enjoyed this book, so don't take my review too seriously or like a not recommendation to read it. Because you can like it.