Sunday, August 5, 2018

Lu's Outing by John Lugo-Trebble

Lu's Outing
(My Good Reads review)

A short, charming coming of age story. Tired of being hassled in his Bronx school for being gay, Lu decides to skip it all for a day and heads downtown. He wanders into some of the well-known gay quarters of the city and gradually begins to find people who welcome him and see the world as he does. I found myself wishing that all lonely, outcast youth could find such a haven just by hopping on a train. And the heady, liberated feeling Lu has reminded me of a similar journey to the Castro that one of my friends described to me about first going to the Castro when he was a young man.

An additional strength of this book is that Lu is short for Luis, who comes from a Puerto Rican American neighborhood, as does the author. The book offers some nice glimpses into that culture and also shows what coming out in that context might be like, in both its strengths and obstacles.

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Death al Fresco by Leslie Karst

Death al Fresco (A Sally Solari Mystery #3)
(My Good Reads review)

Purely by coincidence, I happened to read the third title in this Santa Cruz based series just after reading and reviewing the darker tinged Santa Cruz Noir anthology from Akashic Press. It makes a nice chaser. As with all good series, readers await each new volume not just for the crimes committed and solved, but to hang out with the characters some more. In this one, Sally Solari is helping her dad with a big sister cities event at his restaurant while trying to keep the head chef happy at the more upscale restaurant she inherited from her aunt. Of course a body turns up and Sally's natural curiosity kicks in, making the juggling act all that much harder.

Long time Santa Cruz resident Karst is great on the vibe of the place, this time especially focusing on the beach and wharf areas. This would be a great beach read for visitors--and locals too, for that matter.

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