Zumaya Publications, LLC271 pages$15.99

Anthony Hamilton and Nicholas Inker are partners in life as well as in crime…crime fighting that is! They have been together for nine years, and there is enough density of witty banter exchanged between Alan’s main characters in Gaylias to prove it. The tagline for the book is “Let the bickering begin,” and the couple artfully insult, tease, and otherwise nickel and dime each other throughout the story.

The story has no preamble, as much as it invites – or insists – that you find yourself immediately in the action, as they dismantle one booby trap only to set one off. We come to know the characters, not just the central subjects, but other quirky colleagues and personalities as well through simple one-liners, and longer, well-constructed passages.

Debora, their sniper par excellence, is one such unusual person who support Nicholas and Anthony. She mirrors the relationship bickering with a boyfriend she often threatens to kill or maim via cell phone while hiding among foliage, with a keen eye trained on those she is there to protect.

To appreciate the story, one must read the book bearing in mind that Alan not only trained in creative writing but also in screenwriting and film. The book has the tone of a fast paced action-adventure movie. This is a book to read quickly. Like a fast-paced movie, filled with chase scenes and quick dialogue I found that if I “paused” reading for more than a day it became necessary to “rewind” a few pages to recapture the scene, and the action.

There are references to action movies in the story that nicely reminds the reader that this comes from the mind of someone proficient with that kind of writing, and that genre of film. It subtly encourages that oft-sought “suspension of disbelief” necessary for stories that are fantastical in nature.

Most gay novels – that I have encountered – do not have rocket launches, secret islands, clandestine spies from an alphabet soup of initialed organizations, and anal beads! Yes, there is even a little light bondage for one-half of the crime fighting couple. It is humorous retribution – by no means dark BDSM.

Yet, between the thrills, the action, the characters and the wit there are moments that reveal the inner thoughts of these screwball characters. Please note, by “screwball” I mean a la a good old-fashioned, screwball comedy – a gay “Get Smart” with touches of a pink “Caddy Shack” come to mind. There are passages that reveal Alan’s ability to eloquently capture what the character thinks, and feels. This is, admittedly an unexpected treatment of characters in a tale that is largely humorous. It lends them weight and durability, and therein lies humanity.

“It struck Anthony how so many people were appreciating something about his partner he’d begun to suspect for years. Nicholas had moves, and he had looks, but he was such a child. Why couldn’t he be more serious? Why was he always trying to get everyone around him to laugh? Why did he need so much attention, encouragement and maintenance? And the way Nicholas always seemed to want to touch or cuddle with him. Was it to annoy him or could it possibly be…well…affection? Maybe the two of them really should have a long talk when they got home.”

You’ll have to purchase the book to find out for yourself how the ennui-strained relationship of Anthony and Nicholas fairs through their adventures. However, if there is a sequel to the novel, how about a crime-fighting gay couple that have just adopted a child?

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