PAWN TO QUEEN FOUR by Lars Eighner


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From the author of the memoir Travels with Lizbeth (1993): a charming if thin yarn, Texas-set, about a secret homosexual organization out to fight gay-bashers. Down in the heart of Austin, the Queen (drag, naturally) of the Imperial Court of the Jade Chimera lives in secret splendor, surrounded by man-servants and supported by loyal subjects throughout the state. In Eighner's world, it seems, almost everyone is gay or violently anti-gay. And some are both, including the Queen's archenemy, Brother Earl--an Oklahoma radio preacher, with ties to the KKK, who has a propensity for preaching the gospel one-on-one nude with both women and men. Certain lewd photographs have for years held Earl in check, reigning in his homophobic fervor, but when the photos disappear, Brother Earl feels free to let loose the gay-bashers. Enter Jim, the Queen's pawn sent to entrap Earl into yet another set of damaging poses. Complicating matters, meanwhile, is the Queen's right-hand man--and some say more--who falls in love with Jim. Then there's the renegade gay underground of Oklahoma, which doesn't exactly pledge its allegiance to the Queen. But with the Queen's agents everywhere, including on the road in the form of the outlaw biker gang Hell's Fairies, the Queen always has the upper hand. This is no great literary feast, but a silly romp with a few apt sociological observations--the description, for instance, of radio religion and Brother Earl's ""Worshiptorium."" Still, despite the clunky writing (""The bubbling nausea of his laundry done, the straight razor laid out, and the discarded shoes began to coalesce into a lump in Jim's stomach"") and the heavy-handed plot twists, Eighner's chivalrous characters are infectious. Frivolous, but fun.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's