Falter (How Much Joy Can You Stand?, 2014, etc.) and Harvey introduce an unlikely couple of crime fighters in this San Francisco–based thriller.
Pamela Delacroix moves to San Francisco hoping to start anew, though she faces difficulties when her arrival is heralded in the Chronicle: “The Society Dom Lands in SF in Strategic Career Move.” She is fleeing an ugly divorce and an uglier scandal in which she was caught—in her role as a dominatrix—cheating on her philanthropist husband with six of his high society friends. By chance she encounters Charley MacElroy, a tax-evading CIA agent, heir to a rum fortune, and, by his own reckoning, the “only transgendered pansexual on the planet.” Adventurous in bed but unlucky in love, the two are called upon to foil the plot of a Christian fundamentalist hellbent on destroying the City by the Bay for the exact reason that Charley and Electra (her new name) hold it dear: because it is a beacon of sexual liberation in a world that frequently misunderstands those who are not easily categorized. By confronting their own insecurities, and with the help of a grieving lesbian police sergeant named Frankie Kennedy, the duo works to outwit the forces of hate and save the one place in which they may one day become the truest versions of themselves. Falter and Harvey write with a hard-boiled verve that captures their colorful characters with humor and precision. Here the reader is introduced to Frankie: “With the classic features of an English rose, she hardly looked like the kind of woman who could take out a sniper at one hundred yards. Rather, she seemed more like a woman one would find wandering the moors in her cape in some Edwardian novel.” The plot mechanics will hold no real surprises for fans of the genre, but they are well-executed, and the protagonists bring a breath of fresh air—and marginalized experience—that revitalizes many of the old tropes. Sequels are implied and should be welcomed.
An amusing, sexually inclusive novel about
joining forces to save a metropolis.