Title: Midland Club
Author: Mark Spano
Publisher: Thunderfoot Press
Genre(s):May 10th 2016
Page Count: 128
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A knotted tale of corruption, lies and murder in a midwestern town. Only one man is willing to reveal the truth–at the risk of his own life. from Midland Club What could I prove? I asked myself as I looked into a pile of trash next to my bed. And from that trash, glistening like some mysterious jewel, I spotted the invitation to Garland’s birthday party. Was I too late? Had it already passed. I grabbed the invitation and reread it. I was not too late. The party was Saturday. Three days away. It was my only chance to see Garland Sousley face to face. Should I go? It would mean facing a hundred Uncle Buds: a room full of midwestern men of my father’s generation who knew me, who knew my life story, men who had judged me not like Uncle Bud but like W. T. Sousley. These men hated me. Could I walk into their midst to question the oldest and most respected of them as to his associations with an old queer Negro.
This novel is a small jewel. It is like a hidden pearl that you won’t see until you opened a shell. Maybe it is the reason why it stays unnoticed and unknown for the target audience. No I don’t speak here about a broad audience, gay literary fiction as a genre doesn’t have it, unfortunately.
I’m really surprised to find such beautifully and such unusually told historical mystery novel by a totally new for me author. I hope to see more fictional books from Mark Spano in the future.
Richard St.Pierre belongs to one of the wealthiest families of the Midwest, and 6 years ago he was also a member of the Midland Club, that meant that he was still part of his family and the city. But it was before the police raided the Miss Otis, a place where gays met. As a result – he lost his job, his family abandoned him and he never saw and talked to his father until his death. Now he lives in a black neighborhood, in a cheap apartment and spends most of his money on phonograph records, concerts, liquor and the pursuit of sex.
When Puce, the only black waiter at the Midland Club whom Richard knows since he was a boy, is found dead, the cops says it is suicide. TBut it is not what Richard believes, and as he tries to find the truth, he comes across the secrets that put his life in danger.
The best in this novel is not the story itself, and not the mystery, though I have to praise the author for a very accurate historical atmosphere he created – but HOW it is told. Midland Club is melancholic, lyric, flawlessly smooth and realistic.
I always emphasized that I’m a first person POV junkie. There are books that not necessarily have to be told from the first person pov. But it is impossible not to do it in [book:Midland Club|32768172] and Mark Spano does it masterfully. Richard doesn’t ONLY try to reveal the truth at the risk of his own life, he tells about his family’s history, about himself, people from the past and people around him, he shares his feelings, thoughts and memories and as the result we have an excellent piece of gay fiction of exceptional quality.