That tiny subspecies of homosexual, the doomed queen, who puts the car in gear and drives right off the cliff! That fascinates me."" For any readers similarly fascinated, Holleran has done a depressingly convincing job of recording the rhythms and the paraphernalia of New York's gay-a-go-go subculture: the discos, the Baths, Valium, Quaaludes, poppers, T-shirts, Fire Island, the obsession with physical beauty, and every kink (very gross stuff, but not gratuitously belabored) in the book. The star of this scene is beautiful, blond Malone, who stays in the closet--a lawyer, square and chaste--for years, then comes out with a vengeance to become ""one of the famous bodies of homosexual New York."" His first deep affair (with swarthy Frankie) goes awry, after which, a ""prisoner of love,"" he makes ""a vow to sleep with everyone just once"" and is taken over by regal Sutherland, the prototypically hilarious and outrageous drag queen likely to be found in a black Norell crooning ""Didn't We?"" beside a baby grand. Eventually, Sutherland becomes Malone's pimp ($50-a-throw) and then arranges a ""marriage"" between the aging Malone and a smitten, rich Princeton senior. But the marriage never happens, since Sutherland dies of an overdose and Malone disappears (suicides?) on the same night. Holleran's narrator writes from inside this world (""What queens we were. . .""), but with enough fiat objectivity to keep the humor and the reportage on top and the romanticizing down to a minimum--though kind, gorgeous, ""jaded queen"" Malone, ever ""looking for love"" and disappearing mysteriously, is a hopeless myth-man. And, without a single character capable of growth, this fiction debut can't succeed as a novel. But it does succeed off and on as a vivid, perceptive, authentically pathetic neon side show.