With his first novel The Lodger
, Drew Gummerson accomplishes something that is rarely seen in modern gay fiction; a well rounded story with believable characters and a plot that is not punctuated by long, detailed sex sessions.
His story centres around Honza, a struggling gay freelance writer who reluctantly takes on a lodger to help him pay his bills. Enter Andy, a beer-swilling, couch-dwelling slob who couldn't be more different to Andy if he tried. They're not perfect flatmates but a mutual respect and friendship is born between Andy and Honza; a bond that is tested to its limits when Andy drunkenly confesses to murder. What could have descended into a 'cuckoo in the nest' drama actually plays out a whole lot differently with Andy and Honza attempting to piece together the truth about what Andy actually did and it's here that the novel is most effective. Gummerson clearly realises that the key to a novel is conflict and it is this that keeps the relationship of the two leads interesting and the action moving along nicely. Gummerson also doesn't desert his supporting cast or the sub-plots, all of which work together to propel the main storyline, rather than hinder it. As a first novel, it is still a little rough around the edges and the narrative could have done ideally with a couple more polishes, but these are minor quibbles about what is otherwise a first rate and rather original thriller. Gummerson knows how to tell a tale and if he can keep up this quality, he's certainly going to be a big new name in gay fiction.--Jonathan Weir
Honza takes in a lodger, Andy, who seems like his opposite - a coarse straight guy who comes home drunk every night to fart happily in front of the TV. But when, in a drunken stupor, Andy confesses to murder, Honza refuses to believe him. Then one weekend Andy disappears, only to return with his face rearranged. This black comedy of misunderstandings is a deft debut from Drew Gummerson.