INTIMATE EVIL by Paul Reidinger


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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.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1989
ISBN: 1-55611-140-1
Publisher: Donald Fine
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