British author Burston's spritely, feisty debut follows a formerly decorous gay man's indoctrination into a free-spirited lifestyle of nightclubs, gym workouts, casual sex and recreational drugs. "Fairly handsome" Martin comes home one day to discover that his boyfriend of four years has left him for a "rent boy," so he throws his quiet routine out the window and joins good friend John, a flight attendant, on an endless tour of London's gay nightlife. Meanwhile, Martin's other good friend, hip business professional Caroline, finds herself at the mercy of both a cocaine habit and some dark suspicions that her metrosexual boyfriend, Graham, is actually gay. While Martin and John party excessively, things go from bad to worse for Caroline, whose personal paranoia forces her to mistakenly "out" Graham at a friendly gathering. Then she's caught sniffing drugs at work—and then there's a case of pubic lice. As Martin bulks up at the gym, John starts cooking his own drugs and has a dancing "Britney moment," all while obsessing over his latest conquest: Latin sex-god Fernando. Burston is wise to ground his story on appealingly befuddled Caroline, even though she and everyone else is in a state of drug-induced obliviousness (a scene depicting Martin's father popping Ecstasy and dancing shirtless during Gay Pride makes even the reader wince). The perfect-bodied vanity and dizzyingly juvenile perspective eventually become tiresome, but Martin, Caroline and company, snorting their way through the London club scene, make for a brisk beach read. Agent, Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Ltd. (June)
Forecast: A blurb from Queer as Folk creator Russell Davies touting this debut as "outrageously funny" should generate interest, and a pre-summer release date will mean that there's plenty of time for folks to pick up Burston's book along with the sun block and beach snacks.
Release date: 06/01/2004