David Stukas, Author . Kensington $22 (256p) ISBN 0-7582-0038-2

A clever combination of mystery and social satire with a dash of fantasy, this debut novel takes the reader on a romp through gay and lesbian neighborhoods from Manhattan to Provincetown. Fabulously wealthy Michael Stark picks up every gorgeous young man he meets, much to the envy of his loyal follower, ad copy writer and narrator Robert Willsop. But when Michael is ready to settle down, he gets his comeuppance at his extravagant wedding to supermodel Max Crawford, who leaves him at the altar and absconds with his priceless Matisse. A merry chase takes Michael and Robert through posh Newport to the gay bars and drag shows of P'town, at first in search of the missing painting but later after Max's murderer. Chapter headings amusingly spoof movie and song titles or movies ("Beach Blanket Himbos," "It's My Party and I'll Be Smug if I Want to," etc.), while character names are often puns; e.g., drag queen Beyonda Sea, who wants money for her charity called SFA (not Saks Fifth Avenue, as Robert guesses, but Sequins For All). Often hilarious, sometimes silly and occasionally clichéd, this fast-moving farce gives a riotous view of the gay rich boy scene of sex, money and outrageous flamboyance. A bright, eye-catching dust jacket of a beach scene perfectly conveys the flavor of the text. Those readers who miss Joe Keenan (Blue Heaven; Putting on the Ritz), both gay and straight, will appreciate this promising and witty writer, who is at work on a second novel. Agent, Alison J. Picard.(Sept. 11)

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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