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BICEPS OF DEATH
by David Stukas
Kensington, August 2004
226 pages
$22.00
ISBN: 0758206305


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When I sat down to write the review a week or so after reading BICEPS OF DEATH, I couldn't for the life of me remember what had happened at the end. It's one of those light, frothy crime novels that will keep you entertained for a couple of hours but beyond that is the book equivalent of fish and chip paper

It's very camp, very silly and a bit tiresome after a while with one thinnish plotline over-stretched for 200-odd (yes, yes, very odd) pages. In a nutshell, gay man Robert Wilsop is in the gym with his vain best friend Michael Stark when super-sexy trainer Flex pushes a CD-ROM into Robert's hand and asks him to look after it for him. But when Flex is found murdered in his swanky apartment, Robert realises he's been handed a load of trouble.

The book is basically a linear trot through Robert's adventures as he tries to keep the CD out of the hands of the bad guys, who seem hell-bent on wrecking his apartment as well as turning him into dogmeat. He and Michael and their lesbian friend Monette (who just happens to be addicted to crime fiction) engage in some investigating of their own when they realise the CD contains some decidedly incriminating photos of big names, all of whom had more than enough cause to polish off Flex. In the background is the obligatory enigmatic, handsome policeman, and Robert's boyfriend Marc Baldwin with whom he is conducting a long-distance love affair.

BICEPS OF DEATH is what you might call a romp, but it's not quite as clever as it thinks it is, mainly because writer David Stukas's material is too thin. There are some laugh-outloud moments here and there, plus mildly amusing cameos of the sorts of people you'd come across in the gay community, but there's a limit to the number of times we need to know that Michael is a self-centred narcissist or that Robert is an innocent abroad. It's encouraging to see a rise in the number of humorous gay cosies, but in this case Dean James is doing it better with his vampire series. So file BICEPS OF DEATH under forgettable fun.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, September 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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