Josie O'Conner travels to San Francisco in 1951 to locate her gay brother, a private dick investigating a blackmail ring targeting lesbians and gay men. Jimmy's friends claim that just before he disappeared he became a rat, informing the cops on the bar community. Josie adopts Jimmy's trousers and wingtips, battling to clear his name, halt the blackmailers, and exact justice for the many queer corpses. Along the way she rubs shoulders with a sultry chanteuse running a dyke tavern called Pandora's Box, gets intimate with a red-headed madam operating a brothel from the Police Personnel Department, and conspires with the star of Finocchio's, a dive so disreputable it's off limits to servicemen - so every man in uniform pays a visit.
Blackmail, My Love is a murder mystery deeply steeped in San Francisco's queer history. Established academic and first-time novelist Katie Gilmartin's diverse set of characters negotiate the risks of same-sex desire in a tough time for queers. Humor leavens the grave subject matter. Set in such legendary locations as the Black Cat Cafe, the Fillmore, the Beat movement's North Beach, and the sexually complex Tenderloin, Blackmail, My Love is a singular, visually stunning neo-noir experience.
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Fine Writing, Beautifully Read
One of the best. A well-written story and wonderful narration.
Don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read, so I'll just say the butch who spoke at the funeral moved me to tears.
Hard to pick just one but I liked Lucille talking with Jo about sex
No, but not because I wasn't enjoying it. Sometimes I needed to absorb a bit or recover from a very emotional scene before I was ready to go on.
I like historical fiction anyway, but would absolutely recommend this book. It might be especially instructive for younger readers, to get a view of what it was like "in the life" in the McCarthy era. Katie Gilmartin can really turn a phrase and beautifully captures the tone of classic1950's detective stories. Eva Kaminsky did a fantastic job of bringing the story to life.