May 5, 2022

Recommendation: Justene Gives Her Seal of Approval To a Lambda Literary Award Nominee

Recommendation: Justene Gives Her Seal of Approval To a Lambda Literary Award Nominee

Ep: 118 Brad has interviewed three of the 2022 Lambda Literary Award nominees for Best LGBTQ Mystery. Now, it's Justene's Turn to say a Word About One of the Novels We Haven't Discussed.

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Transcript
Announcer:

It's time to put on your sleuthing cap, feel nail-biting dread, and face heart racing fear. This is Queer Writers of Crime, where you'll get book recommendations and hear interviews with LGBTQ authors of mystery, suspense and thriller novels. Here's your host, Brad Shreve.

Brad Shreve:

Hi there. Justene

Justene:

Hi, how are you Brad?

Brad Shreve:

I'm doing great. And I'm going to tell you something.

Justene:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

Recently I asked for listeners to contact me. So we can just kind of rap and get some feedback, see what they're feeling and want to tell you something that came up almost with every single person.

Justene:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

One, they like the interview and the book recommendation being split.

Justene:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

Two, they like Philip. And Laury. They think I made a good choice.

Justene:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

And every single one said, I'm so grateful. Justene has at least given us once a month.

Justene:

Well, that's good. That's good to know.

Brad Shreve:

Yes. You do have a fan club.

Justene:

Well, that's great. I'm glad I have a fan club. And, you know, that's why I do it. I do it for the fans, Brad.

Brad Shreve:

I think you do it for yourself as well.

Justene:

Well, that's true, but I'm not doing it for you. Oh, maybe I am.

Brad Shreve:

Well, I was explaining to Philip and Laury. I said, You guys have an easy Justene used to have a find a book to recommend every week. Yes. And you used to, like, I just read when it won't work. I just read one word. And you were so grateful when you found one, usually at the last minute. Okay, I found what I can recommend. So hours before I had to have the show published, we were recorded and I had hit editing room. So I'm sure that at least is a break that is awake. At

Justene:

least I have a whole month now to to come up with a book.

Brad Shreve:

Yes, exactly. So you commented one day that I had the easy job. But we never discussed how hard it was for you.

Justene:

It's all easy, and it's all a little hard and it's always a lot of fun.

Brad Shreve:

Who are you going to recommend today?

Justene:

I have gone through the Lambda Literary nominees. Okay, good. You will note that once again, lambda has put all of the mysteries into one category of LGBTQ mysteries. And there are a number of people displeased with that. And want them broken out. On the other hand as Dharma Kelleher only says, there are only two openly trans authors writing mysteries her and Robin Gigl that we're gonna have categories with just the two of them. So

Brad Shreve:

I was actually, when they combined them, I was adamantly against it. And Marshall was on I told him his public letter about the incident, I agreed with him. It was a terrible decision. And then Dharma and I chat almost every day, and she made me see the light. There's actually three people I don't know who the third and I know Robyn and I know dharma. I don't know who the third is. But she's always saying there's three. But still, like you said, Okay, three people in the category minds will just flip a coin. Exactly, exactly. I expressed my biggest concern, even though now I have been convinced is a good decision. I still am not sure it's a good decision, because you now have this group of people that have double the number of books they have to go through. Right. And it was already super difficult for them to have to read enough to pick one. I wouldn't want to be there in their shoes right now. Right? Yeah. But I expressed this before on the air before.

Justene:

I think we're just kind of stuck with it at this point.

Brad Shreve:

Well, we'll see. I don't know. Um, you know, there's a lot of angry people at lambda, for many reasons. There have been some threads going up. In fact, you sent me one, and I'd already read it. It wasn't pleasant. For various reasons. I'm still glad they're there. If they're having issues, I hope they fix them. Because I do think they are something like it is needed.

Justene:

Right. I think they're probably the the prime organization in the LGBTQ fiction space. Yeah, there's not going to be another organization really, that can step into that role right away.

Brad Shreve:

No, not right away. So I have faith.

Justene:

We have faith or something else will happen. But anyway, as we've gone through that long tangent, I have gone through the nominees in the mystery category this year. So we have actually done are you mostly done three of the books on that list already? So Oh, Lies with Man by Nichael Nava is episode 78 of his show. Bath Haus by PJ Vernon is number episode 83 of the show. And The Savage Kind by John Copenhaver is 96 Episode 96 of the show. So, that whittles it down to two books for me to have to look at. Generally, if it's a Lambda nominee, it's a very good book. And you know, I always tend to tell people a little more because it may or may not tickle their fancy it just because someone's a good book doesn't mean you're, you know, you're wanting to read it or you may not read it right now.

Brad Shreve:

There's nothing I love more than having my fancy tickled. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist go.

Justene:

Okay, this book was set in 1946. So I'm using old old fashioned language now. So it's called Murder Under her Skin by Stephen Spotswood. And it is a 1946 is set in 1946. It is a Pentecost Parker mystery. Lillian Pentecost is a very sharp detective owns her own private investigation firm. And her assistant and Secretary Junior investigator and the like is Willowjean Parker. And she goes by will Parker. And Will Parker is a bisexual woman, but her only her only dalliance in this book, is it with a man? So if you're just, you know, dead set against watching any heterosexual in your book, well, then that's it. But you know, queer and it really does include bisexual people who are in a hetero relationship at a time. I'm okay with that. But it may not be the level of queerness that people are particularly interested in.

Brad Shreve:

So, but it made the list because the individual is bisexual. I'm clarifying. They're bisexual, but they did not have same sex relations in this book in this

Justene:

particular book. Well, let me tell you about two characters. These are two independent women in 1946. Lillian Pentecost is an older woman, she has multiple sclerosis. She also has a fake eye, which, you know, her glass eyes sometimes wanders off. It seems to me that even though she's the one who solves the crime and does the detective work, she is more of a minor character because the will Parker's where it fits. But Lillian Pentecost goes by the title Ms. They start out with a court scene where she's testifying and last case they had done and she insists on being called Ms. And I thought 1946 They didn't use MS back in 1946 that was coined during ms magazine came along. But you know, I went back and I researched it. And apparently ms has been in use since the 17th century, and it was just popularized, popularized by Ms magazine and but there were women very few who used it in 1946. And Ms. Pentecost is one of those women and takes umbrage if she's called anything different.

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Justene:

Will Parker, also has very little need for a man in her life. These are not women that define themselves by their relationships. Will Will Parker talks about her previous balances with women. And she also has she tried to seduce the victim in this case but was rebuffed. She didn't know if the woman was herself bisexual if she just didn't wasn't interested, the other one was wasn't interested in women or just wasn't interested in well. And the the other time where it comes up is that you know she's she has this dalliance with the sheriff's deputy. And she talks about her previous lover and accidentally drops the pronouns. She worries about how to react and he just takes it in stride. And that's about all the mention of her bisexuality that there is.

Brad Shreve:

And I'm gonna say even though there's Not same sex going on. bisexuals are underrepresented in queer fiction and probably all fiction so I'm glad this is there. Yeah.

Justene:

And and it's very good representation of someone who is bisexual who is equally attracted to both men and women. You can hear in her voice the attraction to both so I think it's a very good representation of that. Leaving all that aside, I gotta tell you, this is an excellent book. It is very, very well written. The descriptions are wonderful. The language is glowing. They start out in with a court case, which comes across like a Perry Mason drama, where Lillian Pentecost is the witness but she makes the case is you know, as well as any lawyer that you would see on TV Perry Mason, included, it's probably back to the time before he was a lawyer when Perry Mason was an investigator and she's very sharp and she catches all the details she actually does figure out the murderer at the end of the book she puts the clues together. However she doesn't let will park no before will Parker runs headlong into a situation with the actual murder as you as you know, most really exciting mysteries end up with the the protagonists face to face with the villain case to case the case that they're actually doing is a circus. Will Parker used to work in a surface circus before she became the investigator. This is her old circus who calls asking for help you tattooed lady has been killed. And they have arrested the the knife thrower for the murder. There's no shortage of suspects among the circus people. And the circus just happened to be in the town where the tattooed lady grew up. And so now you've got all the towns people who were also suspects. So it's a bit of a cozy but you've got two separate populations involved in this along the way there's fire bombings and heroin addicts with knives, and all sorts of excitement. And will Parker writes it down somewhat like John, Dr. Watson wrote down the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. You've got it, you've got the whole thing from the assistant point of view. And it's a great book. It's really a marvelous book.

Brad Shreve:

Well, if you say so I'm certain it is.

Justene:

You just take it like they so you didn't fall at the scription of a circus in their hometown and a tattooed lady. I mean, come on, that's got a really, you know, that's pretty unique out there. It's not your ordinary, like, you know, wife kills husband. And he blames it on somebody else kind of mystery. It's really very intriguing. Lots and lots of suspects.

Brad Shreve:

And I'm not going to say I'm going to buy it because I say that way too much. I did explain. I'm not sure who maybe it's a Laury that I say it all the time. And most of the time, I do buy them, but they sit in my Kindle because I have so damn many someday that there's some day and I do want to make something out that say something I think is very important for people to know. Guest and publishers frequently send us actually usually send us ARC copies, and we don't share them. So if Justene gets an ARC copy, she does not share with me I buy it and vice versa if I have a guest that sends me a book, and Justine likes it, she buys it so we do respect that and I think that people should know that

Justene:

I will buy a book based on somebody's recommendation or Lambda nomination. And I buy a lot of books that I don't even care for. By the way apparently there's a there's a scam where people are buying full ebooks reading all the way to the end and and then refunding them to returning them for a full refund. No questions asked. And, and don't do that people do not return your ebooks after you bought it and read it.

Brad Shreve:

That's been a problem with Audible for quite some time. Right. You know, movie theaters say if you leave within the first 15 minutes to get your money back. Really? Yeah, most have that policy they don't announce it. Because I wish I had known that Kindle should be the same once you reach a certain point. You pretty much know whether you're gonna like the book or not. If you get to the end and you hate the end. That's too bad. Just deal with it. Firstly,

Justene:

you think this is a free way to get books. I mean, that seems to be the what people are talking about. Who are you know, promoting this scam? Nevermind those of us trying to stop it?

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, and I don't know if there is a way to stop it. You know, it's kind of like pirating books. Yes. A lot of authors go get really upset when they see their book pirated on the internet. I see mine on numerous sites. Listeners, please don't do this and go to the site. But I see them on the on the sites. It pisses me off, but it doesn't concern me. And the reason it doesn't concern me is I know those cheap bastards would never have bought my book to begin with. Exactly. Yeah. So I don't think I'm losing a penny, right? I do go to Google and Google does take them off the search engine. Yeah. But that's as far as I go. That's as far as I go. Because that's pretty easy. You fill out a form and send it in. And it's usually done pretty quickly. But it's a very, it's a shitty thing to do. Don't do it. But I don't worry about too much for that reason. Because I know our listeners, and they would never do that.

Justene:

No, I'm pretty sure they won't. And but we started this by saying we actually buy our books that we read.

Brad Shreve:

Yes, that's that's what we were saying that I want people to know.

Justene:

Let me just run through some ReQueered Tales things because this is an exciting, springtime murder mystery for ReQueered Tales. We brought back the fifth book in the Kaufmann series by Lev Raphael. And we've also brought back the fourth and final book in the Virginia Kelly series by Nikki Baker. And on May 24, the first new novel from Grant Michaels that was found in an unpublished manuscript and edited and ready to go, and we brought it out on May 24. So if you've missing your grant Michaels, and you wondered what happened to him at the end of the series, this is the last final book in this

Brad Shreve:

and I'm gonna give a spoiler alert. I usually don't know who the people that recommend the books are going to recommend. But one I know Philip is going to do the well he's reading it, but I'm gonna presume he's gonna recommend

Justene:

he was gonna recommend he's finished. He said he was going to recommend it.

Brad Shreve:

Okay, so he's gonna recommend a book. Don't skip the episode, hear what he has to say. And Lev Raphael is coming back and we'll talk about him being published now by ReQueered Tales. That's right. And I don't know what else but Lev and I never run out of things to talk about.

Justene:

Well, you don't want to talk about with most people, but our time is nigh.

Brad Shreve:

All right, well, thank you and I guess we will see you next month.

Justene:

See you then Brad.