cover image Provincetown Follies, Bangkok Blues

Provincetown Follies, Bangkok Blues

Randall Peffer / Author Bleak House Books $24.95 (247p) ISBN 9

Peffer (Killing Neptune's Daughter) explores sexual ambiguity in this offbeat legal procedural/whodunit. Callow public defender Michael DeCastro undergoes a baptism of fire with his first murder case: the defendant, Tuki Aparecio, is a Provincetown drag queen from Thailand (via Vietnam) accused of killing her lover, Alby Costelano, before setting a fire to cover her traces. Despite himself-and his imminent wedding to an increasingly annoyed fiancee-DeCastro finds his feelings toward his client evolving into romantic ones, which lands him in some compromising positions. The narrative alternates between Michael's sexually confused point-of-view and Tuki's flashbacks to her dark past in Bangkok and to the events leading up to the crime. Some readers may have difficulty sympathizing with Tuki's melodrama (e.g., suicide attempts, lovers' tantrums) and Michael's naïvete, but fans of Jonathan Ames's The Extra Man and other gender-bending fiction should be intrigued.