THE DEAL: A Gay Romantic Comedy

Becky Cochrane, Author, Timothy J. Lambert, Author . Alyson $14.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-55583-844-7

This joint effort by writing team Lambert and Cochrane follows a group of gay and straight friends for a year as they seek romantic fulfillment. Frustrated by their situations, they all make a deal on New Year's Eve 1999—to find true love by the end of the year or stop complaining about it. Set in Houston, the novel features plenty of romance-related whining by its characters: Aaron, the narrator, who might still be in love with his ex, golden boy Heath; sharp-tongued lesbian Miranda; Patrick and Vivian, the token straight couple; and gay musician Alexander. Though the novel honestly captures the way people brood over and incessantly discuss their love lives, it can sometimes make for tedious reading, especially the never-ending back-and-forth between Aaron and Heath. The dialogue strains for the comic snappiness of Will and Grace , but mostly falls flat ("You made me think of Maya Angelou... I Know Why the Lesbian Drummer is a Bitch "). Surprisingly for a novel about love and lust, there are few steamy sex scenes; bedroom encounters are quickly glossed over ("In our haste, we were clumsy and awkward about undressing each other, but when that part was done, everything familiar and easy came back"). Despite its flaws, the novel has its amusing moments, and it's easy to get caught up in the partner shuffling. The ending is satisfying if a bit pat. As one character says, "A deadline for love doesn't really ring true. Does it?" Agent, Alison Picard . (June)

Reviewed on: 04/26/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
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