This volume in the never-ending series of the adventures of two gay men in the bad old days is for us devotees. While full of incident, it is discreet and low key. An outsider might feel lost, in spite of all the background information Frank slips into his narrative. There is a court hearing, involving a bitter, closeted gay man aiding and abetting Nick’s enemies. Nick and Carter are separated for the first time in their years together, and that’s kinda important. But the real thing this book does is threefold:
• It reminds us that Nick wants only to seek justice for his people.
• It reminds us that Nick and Carter have created a family that, quite happily, includes their actual biological families. They are never alone.
• It reminds us that Nick sees dead people, in particular, relatives. Nick’s fascinating dreams, always hosted by his great-uncle Paul Williams, are very clearly more than dreams. Nick and Carter haven’t admitted as much openly, but they both know. This big of magic taps into something very deep inside me.
The year is 1962, and against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis (which I do not remember; I was only seven, and apparently this fear was kept from me by my parents – who, by the way, had voted for Nixon) we see Nick and Carter facing a major family crisis, even as they seek to reunite a long-estranged father and son and face yet more injustice at the hands of conservative politicians.
The most earth-shaking development is, however, the fact that Nick and Carter hire the first straight guy ever for their expanding security firm. It all happens so quietly that you might not notice. The second most earth-shaking thing is the repeated introduction of the word “gay” to Nick’s more traditional vocabulary – introduced by a young Louisiana boy in the context of the gay bar scene in the Big Easy. See? Earth-shaking isn’t necessarily an earthquake in these books. This is Frank Butterfield’s delicate touch.
I can say no more, but that I love these guys and these books. We will grow old together, it seems, and that’s fine (I have a head start but, apparently, I will relive my life through Nick and Carter’s lives). As a side note, I have recently been to the Café Lafitte in Exile in New Orleans – with our straight nephew who, in this modern world, has lots of gay friends. Also, Nick and Carter stay at the Hotel Lowell in New York City. I’ve been there. I learned to love escargots as a teenager at The Passy, an elegant French restaurant in the Lowell. It’s where my father proposed to my mother in 1940.
- Paperback: 258 pages
- Publisher: Independently Published (7 January 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 179337841X
- ISBN-13: 978-1793378415
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 349 g
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