Name Games) featuring Mark Manning, editor and publisher of the Dumont Daily Register

BOY TOY: A Mark Manning Mystery

Michael Craft, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-312-26917-3

In his fifth gay mystery (after 2000's Name Games) featuring Mark Manning, editor and publisher of the Dumont Daily Register, Craft does a better job than usual of portraying the people of Dumont, Wis., as real and sympathetic human beings. Thad Quatrain, Mark's 17-year-old nephew and ward, is coming out of a difficult adolescence. His recently discovered talent for acting is now being put to use in his role as the alternating lead with fellow teenager Jason Thursh in the Dumont Players Guild's summer production of a new play by the theater's director. Mark and his lover, architect Neil Waite, who's moved his business from Chicago to Dumont, are eagerly awaiting opening night. However, when Jason suddenly and mysteriously dies, suspicions point directly to Thad. With the help of Neil, the Daily Register's engaging staff members and good friends like Douglas Pierce, the gay sheriff of Dumont County, Mark sets out to discover the truth behind Jason's untimely death. Strong characterization, vivid descriptions of a Wisconsin summer and a well-developed mystery with a surprising conclusion combine with a sensitive portrayal of two older men creating a family for a teenage boy. The only flaw in the otherwise warm tone of the narrative is the explicit sex between Mark and Neil; it just doesn't fit. (June 4)

Reviewed on: 05/14/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
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