cover image Rent Boy

Rent Boy

Gary Indiana. Serpent's Tail, $10.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-1-85242-324-7

New York City, 1991: Amy Fisher is arrested; an Exxon executive is kidnapped; and Indiana's protagonist is invited to join a plot to steal organs for transplanting. Indiana ( Horse Crazy ) initiates readers into the world of swanky homes, sleazy porn, drugs and murder. When not waiting tables, studying architecture, or out making private house calls, this X-rated novel's first-person narrator haunts gay bars and the Port Authority bus terminal, turning tricks. As for explicit and playfully exaggerated descriptions, ``offbeat scenes break up the monotony'' (as the narrator says of his clients' kinky preferences). The tone is extremely conversational, by turns monologue, diary and letter: ``I know you're sitting in your apartment reading this and I said I'd tell you everything that happens to me and I will, but I'm like too wiped out to go on right now.'' Readers learn of various encounters retrospectively, as the narrator relates what are often frustrating asides to this brief novel's major thrust. The loose ends are knotted into a fast-paced drama in the book's conclusing sections, however, and those who can tolerate what seemed mere egocentric rambling will be justly rewarded. (Jan.)