American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men

David McConnell. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61775-132-5
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Utilizing an empathetic narrative nonfiction approach, novelist McConnell (The Silver Hearted), co-chair of the Lambda Literary Foundation, casts a humanizing eye upon monstrous deeds, but fails to prove his central thesis that the somewhat high-profile murders of gay men he revisits are the result of “pure masculinity enraged.” Covering 1999 to 2011, he attempts to demonstrate how the adherence to a rigid definition of masculinity caused these particular murderers to commit their crimes, and the case of Darrell Madden almost proves the point as McConnell, in a journalistic tour de force made all the more impressive by jailhouse interviews, traces the killer’s trajectory from traumatized farm boy to gay porn pinup, white supremacist, and eventually murderer of Steve Domer. But the central premise, detailed on the opening page (“The fact is, all relationships between men—friendship, rivalry... murder—are casually characterized by sexual metaphors...”) simply does not play out in the combination of research, interviews, and restated news coverage of the murders of George Weber, Gary Matson, and Scott Amedure. Even the author seems unconvinced by the conjecture and muddled references used to connect the dots. Adoring physical descriptions of the killers contrast oddly with misogynistic descriptions of women, but it does not undermine McConnell’s unquestionable skill as a writer, which gives both literary heft and immediacy to the narratives. Sociologically, however, little is revealed. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 03/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-61775-153-0
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