George Baxt: A Queer Kind of Love
From the Publisher:
Pharoah gets off to what might seem to some like a bad start: He's forced to gun down one of his two closest friends, a childhood pal with whom he once shared all his very best times. It's not Pharoah's fault, however, that Herbie Marks, who himself has just iced three too-greedy drug dealers, preferred a fast bullet to a slow prison sentence. After a life of crime led him to their rooftop showdown, Herbie was literally calling the shots... and Pharoah, both to his credit and to his dismay, knew what was expected of him.
But Pharoah's biggest problem, in the aftermath of Herbie's death, is not what to tell the grieving widow (who's adding up her late husband's insurance policies even before the body's released from the morgue). Rather, it's how to deal with the disasters befalling the employees of his other old best buddy the Third (junior) Musketeer of those long-ago Brooklyn summer days, Marco Salino. Disasters, as in severely shortened life expectancies i.e., murders. Most foul. Like Herbie, Marco has never settled for "straight" when "crooked" would do. (Pharoah, of course, also forgoing "straight" in a different context, has insisted on "honest" and "upright".) Now Marco, a rising star in the mob ranks, is paying a hefty price for the vile behavior of his boys one unfortunate night when he failed to exert proper control. Two gorgeous young women - show biz hopefuls known as the Chic Twins - met a cruelly violent end as a result of Marco's carelessness, so someone with an imaginative sense of justice has takenon the task of avenging them. Poisoned pizza isn't the half of it! Nor is a luxurious brothel staffed by acrobatic Shirley Temple impersonators and Madonna look-alikes.
From an elegant Italian trattoria with an amorous maitre d' to a Russian nightclub with a temperamental diva, it's all in a gay's work for Pharoah Love, as fast with a pun as he is with his gun. Pharoah Love fans have been awaiting their hero's return for too long, but it was worth the wait, and now Pharoah's back where he belongs - at the center of a daffy and delicious Manhattan mystery chock-ablock with wit and weirdness.
George Baxt: A Queer Kind of Love. A Pharoah Love Mystery. Simon & Schuster, ISBN: 1883402018 (February, 1994), 279 p., $20.00