In a disjointed and needlessly morose tale, a gargoylelike creature protects a mopey 20-something from gay bashers.
Jeremy is a recent college graduate miserably selling hot dogs in New York. On New Year's Eve, he is beaten on 26th Street by assailants spewing anti-gay slurs. After the attack, he is helped up by someone who identifies himself as Jeremy's Guardian and later reveals himself to be a stone creature called a grotesque (“Gargoyles are drain pipes”). As Jeremy slowly recovers physically and emotionally from his attack, he learns more of Garth the Guardian's history. Meanwhile, Garth enacts vigilante justice against actual and suspected gay bashers, and Jeremy schemes to attract a fellow food-service worker who already has a boyfriend in a manipulative way that goes sadly unacknowledged in the text. Both Jeremy's and Garth's stories are delivered in plodding, tortuous prose (“Each word and strike were precious treasures I'd dropped, treasures that would help pay my way through the processing of the assault”). One of Garth's protective acts leaves a dead body in Jeremy's apartment, and although there is some concern that the police may look askance at this turn of events, the book ends before the situation is truly addressed.
A tedious, poorly plotted slog with very little resolution. (Urban fantasy. 14-18)