cover image Glitterland


Alexis Hall. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $15.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-72826-528-5

There is a lot to be titillated by in this delightful gay romance from Hall (Boyfriend Material), the first in his Spires Series. Ash Winters, a reasonably successful London novelist with bipolar disorder, meets Darian Taylor, a glitzy, self-tanned Essex fashion model, at a nightclub. After a few initial hiccups, these polar opposites fall into a shockingly successful relationship as Darian’s good cheer coaxes Ash into situations outside of his comfort zone. Though Hall has a sensitive hand with Ash’s mental illness throughout, the happy relationship results in an almost unbelievably huge alteration in Ash’s personality and approach to the world. Hall writes Darian’s dialogue in Essex dialect—suggesting, for example, that the inscription to Ash’s latest novel should read, “To the geeza what I slept wif and then done a runner on in the middle of the night, making ’im feel like a right slapper?” This near-caricature has a distracting effect and distances readers from the narrative, especially as none of the other characters speak with comparable dialectical mannerisms. Still, Hall’s trademark humor and heart shine through. It’s a cheery, hopeful love story proving that those with mental illness can have just as much fun—and sex—as those without. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callahan, Handspun Literary. (Jan.)