cover image Eclipse of the Heart

Eclipse of the Heart

Ronald Tierney, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-09792-9

Beneath its thriller trappings, this tale, a departure from Tierney's Deets Shanahan mysteries (including last year's The Iron Glove ), is an emotive story of spiritual rebirth and a sensitive addition to the annals of gay crime fiction. The carefully ordered existence of near-celibate San Francisco food critic Zachary Grayson is challenged by his recent friendship with a young man named Bernard Manning. Readers know Manny as a young tough assigned by his anonymous employer, whom he refers to as ``the company,'' to ``get close'' to Grayson and await further instructions. At the same time, certain figures in the nation's capital are alerted to the movement of an electronic chip in Mexico, where Zachary agrees to accompany Manny. In Puerto Vallarta, Manny disappears, forcing Zachary to exercise previously unknown physical and mental resources. In the process, Zachary befriends a young hustler named Sali, falls in love and gets in a heap of trouble. Plot is plentiful and rewarding here, but depth of character most clearly distinguishes this fluid narrative that drifts through action, dreams and desire, and occasionally evokes Thomas Mann. (Oct.)