Monday, March 22, 2010


You already know that I have been a huge fan of the work of writer Donald E. Westlake for decades, and that his Dortmuder novels inspired Straight Lies, because you hang on my every word.

Drewey Wayne Gunn doesn't know that, though.

So imagine my surprise when I came across this review on the Lambda Literary Foundation website:
For years film star Romeo Romeo has been building his film career on his image of “the brave gay actor who has stepped forward when all the closet cases were [...] being closet cases.” But Jamie Brock (from Trust Fund Boys), using an outdated camcorder, gets the proof that the star is actually very heterosexual. Jamie is all set to blackmail Romeo, when he stupidly leaves the incriminating tape in a taxicab. He turns to long-time petty crime professional Grant Lambert, the antihero of the novel, to find the tape — for a cut in the proposed blackmail money. Soon Grant is pulling his lover, Chase LaMarca, and most of his friends into what turns out to be, as in all good capers, an accelerating series of comical mishaps. In the process Byrnes creates a memorable string of eccentric characters and gets to skewer various pretentious New York types. One leaves the novel dizzy from all the twists and turns the plot takes as Grant invents one ingenious scheme after another, only to have each one somehow blow up in his face. No doubt the spirit of the late Donald E. Westlake floats benevolently over the novel, but this is totally vintage Byrnes with his own signature writ large and clear.