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Better as a mystery than erotica
on 7 June 2010
Amateur sleuth Mitch returns for more erotic adventures as he attempts to solve a murder mystery on the Flying Scotsman. It's impossible to review this novel without comparing it to The Back Passage, as it is a direct sequel, and shares many of the great qualities of it's predecessor. Mitch is an endearing narrator, and the cast of characters are suitably entertaining - and of course, nearly all gay. I have read some reviewers who criticise this as being unrealistic. To them I would say: it's a comic gay erotic fantasy; of course they're all going to be gay and Mitch is going to shag most of them. That's half the fun!
In many ways, though, I think it is the erotic content that lets this second novel down a bit. Mitch doesn't manage to get his end away nearly as often, and when he does he feels somewhat guilty as he is being unfaithful to Vince, left behind in Edinburgh. The sex scenes lack the urgency and passion of Mitch's encounters with Boy Morgan in the first book, although Betrand is a rather dear character and I enjoyed his discovery of the joys of taking it up the rear.
However, the mystery this time around is fascinating - involving a heady mix of murder, diamond smuggling, porn films, drugs, blackmail, film stars, forbidden love, royalty, right wing fascists, corrupt coppers and sex clubs - and the way Lear sows doubt and suspicion of all the main characters is masterful. I think it succeeds far better as a mystery novel than it does as an erotic one. And now I'm going to have to go and buy the next installment of Mitch's adventures: A Sticky End (you've gotta love those titles!)