Author: Christopher Rice
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Adam Murphy wants to be a serious journalist. Unfortunately, he spends his days writing copy about underwear and abs for a gay lifestyle magazine. When a troubled young porn star brings him a tip about a recently deceased marine’s secret visit to an infamous pimp for underage boys, Adam is determined to break the story…until someone starts threatening his life.
Undeterred, Adam begins to unravel a deadly conspiracy involving runaway sugar daddies, salacious A-list parties, and three handsome young men who have vanished without a trace. Now he must enter the seedy underbelly of LA to find the truth behind their disappearance, as well as the disappearance of his ex-lover, Corey—who may have some deadly secrets of his own.
In this supercharged modern noir tale of sex, drugs, and revenge from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, getting to the bottom of a scandalous story can be dangerous…if not downright fatal.
Revised edition: This edition of Light Before Day includes editorial revisions.
When I read Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire” in 1976, I was twenty-one and her son Christopher hadn’t even been born. That the author who inspired me to write would give the world a son who happened to be gay and a writer is a wonder at which I can only shake my head.
I’m fairly sure this is the only mother/son duo of authors I’ve ever read, and although they are very different from each other, Christopher seems to have inherited his mother’s love of baroque darkness. A critical difference is that Christopher Rice believes in redemption as much as he believes in pain; trusts in the power of goodness in equal measure to his acceptance of the inevitability of evil.
“Light Before Day” is a complicated, twisted story of a young man haunted by the memory of an alcoholic mother. Adam Murphy is recovering from a bad break-up and in danger of following his mother into the oblivion of drugs and liquor. He wants to be a journalist, but finds himself hindered in his ambitions by a cowardly editor and his own chemical demons. A chance meeting with a porn star and sometime friend triggers a series of events that draw Adam ever deeper into a drug-fogged demimonde of rich closeted men and underage boys.
Adam’s thwarted journalistic ambitions draw the attention of a reclusive novelist, James Wilton, who takes Adam on as an assistant and thus unwittingly sends him into a widening maelstrom of murder and deceit. At the same time Wilton and his forbidding wife, Brenda, become moral anchors to which Adam ties his tentative new sobriety. Ultimately, on a quest to uncover the identity of a murderer, Adam stumbles into a web of vigilantism that shatters every preconception he holds of how the world—even his very flawed world—should work. His own moral compass, ironically, is all that keeps him from spiraling into despair.
Rice has crafted a plot that has so many twists and unexpected revelations that only the most patient mind will escape confusion. It might be better just not to fight it. I chose to ride the confusion, holding onto Adam Murphy’s shirttails, and enjoyed the ride while shuddering at every shocking reveal. Adam’s nightmare is a world where innocence fosters evil and beauty becomes repellant; where the glittering veneer of Hollywood hides secrets that turn your stomach.
Discreet in his use of mayhem, Rice leads us through scenes of appalling violence without gratuitous description. By doing so he not only spares the reader, but somehow underscores Adam’s own innate goodness. The flawed, failed young man we meet at the start of the book emerges as its emotional and moral center. By the end of the torturous narrative, we have come to lean on Adam Murphy and to rely on his strength to get us through it.
All those years ago Anne Rice gave the literary world a vampire who offered homoerotic suggestiveness and moral ambiguity. Her son has established his own proud legacy with flawed gay heroes who know their own souls better than Louis and Lestat and all the rest.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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