BACKTRACK by Joseph Hansen


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Deservedly acclaimed for his matter-of-fact treatment of homosexuality in the Dave Brandstetter mysteries, Hansen here takes a far more clumsy approach--as a teenager investigates his long-lost father's murder . . . and ever-so-predictably discovers his own homosexual identity. This narrator-hero is smart-alecky kid Alan Tart, who hitch-hikes to his actor-father's funeral in L.A. (his parents broke up years ago), soon learning: a) his dad was homosexual, and b) he died in a suspicious fall, So Alan starts asking questions, talking to agents and lovers. He also gets raped--by his new girlfriend's boyfriend. And eventually Alan both unmasks the killer and has sex with him--before winding up in the hospital and finding truer love with a doting black orderly. A few crisp vignettes in the better Hansen style--but the mystery is nearly nonexistent, Alan is unpleasant company, and the sexual material is both didactic and gushy, often verging on the pornographic. For most Hansen fans, then: beware.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1982
Publisher: Countryman