Books by Paul Reidinger

GOOD BOYS by Paul Reidinger
Released: June 8, 1993

Reidinger's third bedraggled novel (The Best Man, 1986; Intimate Evil, 1989) is about three men, one of them gay, who keep in touch, more or less, for ten years while working their way through girlfriends, careers, and oodles of twenty-and-thirty- something ennui. It's all tediously episodic, with occasional comic touches that aren't enough to save it. Our heroes are Michael, Chris, and Drew. Chris, the gay one, loves Drew, he thinks, but Drew, who can never make up his mind what he wants (aside from lots of straight sex), is a jerk, whereas Michael, who's been unfaithful once with Drew's wife, goes through a vast identity crisis, especially when his wife gives birth to a ``huge emotional mass.'' All of this material, of course, is the stuff of real-life drama, but Reidinger is earnest where a light touch is called for, and sarcastic or facetious where we want sobriety. Worse, the story inches along—from the sophomoric banter of college (Chris is confused about his sexuality) to early career moves (Michael is a doctor, Drew a lawyer) to love affairs (Chris, who begins to come out with ``Forty-five-minute voyages into San Francisco,'' meets Carl; Drew and girlfriend Dana have long dreary arguments about love, the nature of) to climaxes and resolutions (Michael, husband and father, begins to see a shrink because he keeps thinking of Dana; Carl gets AIDS, and Chris has intimations of mortality; Drew, his job and girl gone, goes to the park and picks up a guy who happens to be working toward a Ph.D. in comparative literature but who really wants to be in Hollywood). ``Thinking of your peers as adults isn't easy.'' Especially, it seems, after a book like this—a tossed salad of half-digested instances that rarely rises above soap opera or sitcom. Read full book review >
INTIMATE EVIL by Paul Reidinger
Released: May 14, 1989

A second tale of homosexual passion from Reidinger (The Best Man, 1986). Jason McGuire, not quite 18, is on death row after confessing to the horrific murders of his father and older brother Patrick. There's no doubt of Jason's guilt, but his lawyer Bryan Delafield keeps digging until he uncovers Jason's never-revealed motive: dad and Patrick had been brutalizing Jason for years. That's about it, except that Bryan's frustrating relationship with Jason leads him to a break with his wife Caroline and young daughter Jessie and brings him almost out of the closet, first with a young associate at his firm, then in an unconsummated night with Jason himself. What might have been an unpleasantly effective short story is padded out to novel length with extended analogies between Jason's and Bryan's families, constant shifts in grammatical person and tense, particulars of the principals' sex lives (including several rapes by prisoners and prison guards), a detailed account of the Delafields' trip to buy Jessie a kitten for Christmas, and much talk about being gay. (To give an idea of the level here: Jason refuses to go on the stand because he doesn't want to "let them know I'm a queer," though he immediately adds, "I'm not a queer.") In the end, Jason goes to the chair, and Bryan is in a tizzy ("Jason slumps to his left, and his hands slowly unclench. Mine do not"). Mercifully brief. Read full book review >