Eye Contact

Michael Craft, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $21.95 (342p) ISBN 978-1-57566-292-3
Obvious and unconvincing, the latest appearance of Chicago journalist Mark Manning (introduced in Flight Dreams, 1997) is less a mystery than a platform for exploring gay sexuality. Manning is skeptical of astrophysicist Pavo Zarnik's announcement of the discovery of a new planet. He also doubts the authenticity of Zarnik's claims to be a renowned Eastern European scientist. The fatal shooting of a fellow reporter, also investigating Zarnik, ups the ante. Personal complications ensue when Manning is assigned a bodacious and flirty young assistant whose charms prove a potent distraction from the reporter's relationship with his loftmate, Neil, an architect who's redesigned their plush condo. All this happens on the eve of a gay-rights festival that is agitating the local Christian fundamentalists. Craft makes the identity of the limping killer obvious, gives his characters wooden, expository dialogue and grounds Manning's investigation in flimsy evidence (e.g., Manning suspects Zarnik isn't really from Eastern Europe because his personal hygiene is impeccable and he eats peanut butter). Manning's moral quandaries are generally convincing, but overall there is more gay sex--some real, some imagined, most graphically depicted--on these pages than mystery. Readers seeking narrative satisfactions will likely be disappointed. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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