Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Book Review: Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

I just watched the documentary I'll Be Gone in the Dark, based on the bestselling book, and talked with my husband about why true crime has such an appeal to some. I don't read all of it, but the literary, elevated stories I do. I want more than salacious blood and gore--I want the underlying story of why, and maybe even something more.

Last Call really hit the spot for me as it is literary true crime, but it's also a history of the LGBTQ scene in New York City during a time we usually don't hear about. It's after the initial liberation of the 1970s, and it's after the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, when gay and lesbian people were becoming more accepted and having more freedom because of that. And just as this change is happening, a serial killer starts targeting gay men. You might at first assume it's someone who hates gay men, some kind of vigilante homophobe but you'd be wrong. I won't tell you more but the call is coming from inside the house. Which makes it extra sad.

It's also extra sad in that these crimes should have been investigated harder and solved more quickly. But it's also nice that they weren't completely swept under the rug and in fact were followed through on. The true crime aspect is well researched and thorough, but I also really appreciated the slice of life of the nice quiet gay piano bar scene of the 1990s. A compelling read.

This book is published by Celadon, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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