Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery

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This novel from professor and artist Katie Gilmartin is a fascinating and troubling look at the lives of LGBT peoples during the mid-twentieth century. Gilmartin dedicates this book to “our Queer ancestors who survived, and to those who did not.” The book is mainly a noir and private eye fiction following the trail of Josie O’Conner, “Joe,” who has gone to San Francisco to find out what happened to her brother James. She needs to cross-dress to make her investigation, and learns that her brother was more than just fond of men and she of women. The story takes place in the Bay Area in 1951, when there were many legal and criminal obstacles facing LBGT peoples, and many needed to pursue their desires in secrecy. Once “outed” or identified, there were many dangers they would face.

Blackmail, My Love succeeds as a detective novel. It does turn into an “earned” revenge fantasy, but some have faced a lot of danger, even from the government, for their sexual independence, and it is not clear why. The book seeks to show how people fought back to defend their life decisions, which might wrongly have been considered “pat” during this time.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 306 pages
Publisher Cleis Press
Publish Date 2014-Nov-18
ISBN 9781627780643 Buy this Book
Issue February 2015
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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