Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review - The Back Passage

Title: The Back Passage
Author: James Lear
Publishing Date: 2006
Genre: Gay Fiction/Mystery
Rating: B
Sensuality: Burning

I got the itch to give James Lear a try when Caroline from The Thrillionth Page held a contest and interview with Mr. Lear. I don't normally read gay fiction, but because of the high praise Caroline gave Mr. Lear I was certainly intrigued enough to give him a try. I decided on the first Mitch Mitchell mystery, The Back Passage.

The Back Passage is told in the first person point of view from Edward "Mitch" Mitchell. He is a young American studying medicine at Cambridge University in 1925. He has been attracted to his roommate, Harry "Boy" Morgan (everyone seems to have a nickname) and even though Morgan is engaged to be married Mitch is convinced he can persuade Morgan to sample what Mitch is offering - a delightful romp in the hay. Boy takes Morgan with him to his fiance's home during a long vacation and a murder takes place. Mitch having a flair for cozy mysteries, finds himself on the case, while dabbling in quite a few sexual romps on the side.

First of all I just have to chuckle at the title, The Back Passage. How apropos, shall we say?! Nothing like a subtle allusion to get things started. I found this book to be quite entertaining. Mitch is quite the character. I love his frankness with his own sexuality and his opinion of others. He narrates the book with well placed humor and sincerity.

One thing that I did find odd, was that it seemed like everyone Mitch encountered was either gay or had a predilection towards it. Let's see, by page 80 Mitch had already had three sexual encounters with three different men. So some suspension of disbelief will be needed. The sex scenes are very descriptive and might be a tad too graphic for more conservative readers. The erotic sexuality of the book did overshadow the mystery to a degree, but over all I found the book to be quite entertaining. Mitch is a fun, appealing character.

Here is what others had to say:

This Gaudy Guilded Stage
Cathode Ray Tube
Tours Books Blog
Rain on the Roof

You can purchase this book in print or kindle format from Amazon.


Carolyn Crane (aka CJ) said...

Oh, funny about the title! Great review. I was just thinking about Lear.

I think he explains this book as inspired by Murder on the Orient Express. And yes, most everyone is gay or open to it in Palace of Varieties, too! Well you get an A for adventurous reading if this is where you started with gay fiction - Lear is so very dirty!! I'm glad you found it fun.

Jill D. said...

Carolyn - Oh my goodness, is it ever so very dirty, LOL! It brings to mind the differences between men and women. I enjoyed it for something different from my usual reading. But it is definitely not for everybody. Thank you for recommending it.

Tracy said...

I htink I won this from Sayuri - I'll have to actually read it. :) Great review!

Jill D. said...

Tracy - Yes, do read it! I think you will find it entertaining and it isn't that long of a book. Miss speed reader, you will probably read it in a couple of hours :)