Desmond: A Novel about Love and the Modern Vampire

Ulysses G. Dietz, Author Alyson Books $13.95 (344p) ISBN 978-1-55583-470-8
As proven by Dietz's not-quite-undead debut, it takes more than a serial killer and a couple of vampires to give us a chill. There's little tension, no moral conflict and everyone (except the occasional homophobe) is utterly agreeable, including vampire protagonists Desmond Beckwith and Roger Deland. Desmond volunteers for AIDS organizations, never kills his victims and uses his wealth to help people--yet for all his niceness, he's unhappy. He's gay and pines for Roger, who's straight, so he picks up beguiling Tony Chapman--and they fall instantly in love. Since Tony is an unemployed museum curator, they discuss Desmond's antiques in great detail. The insipid dialogue is a showcase for stereotypical camp banter (""You cad""), and even the erotic encounters are disappointingly dull: ""Their lovemaking was like a spring breeze to Desmond's winter-bruised soul. They romped happily and intensely until both were exhausted and content."" Although they're aware of an at-large gay serial killer whose M.O. is vampiric, there's no sense of danger until near the end, and even that quickly subsides. Two flashbacks, one to England for Desmond's transformation and one to revolutionary Paris, fail to bring those periods--or this bloodless tale--to life. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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