Cold Serial Murder – – also a SF Chronicle Best-Seller
Tim Snow expected to show his visiting Aunt Ruth the wonders of San Francisco, but never expected one of the sights of the city would be the body of his ex-lover. A killer is on the loose in the Castro district. Meanwhile, Tim’s cadre of quirky friends and neighbors makes life all the more interesting with their drama of weddings and lost (and found) loves. Cold Serial Murder continues the story of one of the Castro’s most adorable characters. Can Tim and his Aunt uncover who the killer is before it’s too late?
Excerpt from Cold Serial Murder:
Tim bent to put the key in the trunk and smelled… something… something was terribly wrong. The trunk came open and Tim caught his breath. Jorge was no longer missing. He was naked in the trunk of Arturo’s car amid dozens of rotting strawberries in a pool of blood.
Tim jumped back as the bile rose in his throat and he tried not to vomit. He looked around to make sure no one else was close enough to see what he did. Then he closed the trunk again. The seven muscle-bound Cherimpersonators were gathering on the sidewalk to have a group picture taken in front of the restaurant for the B.A. R. There was nothing Tim could do for Jorge now and he saw no reason to disrupt Jason’s memorial gathering.
A police car double parked near the bus shelter in front of the Bank of America. There was nothing Tim could do for either Jason or Jorge besides tell the authorities, so he headed toward the corner of 18th and Castro with Arturo’s car keys still in the palm of his hand.- The action is divided between the Castro neighborhood and Nick’s nursery in Northern California’s gay resort district when a naked body is found in the Russian River.
Tim and Nick’s relationship grows serious, but is strained by misunderstandings before Nick leaves for a funeral in New Orleans.
Aunt Ruth falls for Sam Conner, a wealthy importer from Hillsborough.
Arturo and Artie hire a new piano player, Phil, who has a more lucrative business on the side.
Tim is briefly reunited with Nick before being injured in an attempt on Nick’s life and the nursery is nearly destroyed.
Artie finally revives his drag persona, Artie Glamóur, to perform for a holiday party at Arts.
BEACH READING / COLD SERIAL MURDER
– E.B. Boatner – Lavender Magazine, MINNEAPOLIS
Grab your towel, some SPF 60 lotion, and these first two of author Mark Abramson’s highly entertaining Beach Reading series. He introduces protagonist Tim Snow, Minnesota-born, expelled by his family after an “incident,” taken in by his Aunt Ruth, and now comfortably ensconced in the heart of the Castro, where he has lived for some time. Beach moves along briskly, incorporating a homophobic preacher, a gay icon, joint-toking oldsters, a jolt from Tim’s past, and a bevy of characters you’ll meet again inCold Serial Murder, including Aunt Ruth. Cold Serial is littered with corpses, one of them Tim’s ex-lover. Beach Reading is exactly what it promises. Abramson’s witty dialogue; vivid, sexy characters; and comprehensive knowledge of gay SF, its flora, fauna, and idiom, captivate the reader. Number three, Russian River Rat, will be out later this fall. Don’t worry – it will be as much fun to read under an electric throw as on a beach blanket.
COLD SERIAL MURDER
by Mark Abramson
(Lethe Press, March 2009, $15 softcover)
It’s been a while since Armistead Maupin delighted readers by the Bay with his serialized Tales of the City, but fans of this type of light confectionary fiction will not be disappointed by Mark Abramson’s first two entries in his Beach Reading series. Equally San Francisco-centric, these volumes feature main character Tim Snow, a waiter at Castro Street’s Arts Restaurant, his bosses Artie and Arturo… – hits of San Francisco name-dropping, quirky characters and the kind of you’ve-got-to-be-kidding coincidence that happens only in fiction.
—- Jerry L. Wheeler, Out Front Colorado
I promised to let you know when there would be another book in the “Beach Reading” series and I am glad to tell you that I just received…“Cold Serial Murder”, the second book in Mark Abramson’s series on gay life. I could not wait to get started reading it so I took yesterday afternoon off, turned off the phone and sat down in my favorite chair to lose myself in it. From the get go let me say that it is not only as good as “Beach Reading”, it is even better. Mark Abramson knows how to tell a story and he does so with a lot of references to gay life today. Abramson is the kind of guy I could fall in love with if his writing is anything like him. He creates real characters—we all know someone like the guys in the book and we get the sense that we are not just reading a book but that we are participating in the experience that we read about.
Like “Beach Reading”, “Cold Serial Murder” is a love song to San Francisco. Our hero, Tim Snow, takes his visiting aunt on a tour of the city and while they are visiting the sights of one of the gayest cities in the world, Tim gets a real surprise. He comes across the dead body of his ex-lover. He and his aunt come to the conclusion that there is a killer roaming the Castro and they decide to find out who it is. To say anymore about the plot would ruin your fun of reading the book so I won’t. But I will say that the book is a guide to gay San Francisco and for those of you have visited there, you will probably feel a bit homesick. For those of you who have been to San Francisco, you may find yourselves making plans for a trip. Abramson gives us a vivid description of the town and his ability to give detail is amazing. This is a great read and the only problem I have is waiting for the sequel—in fact, there are going to be several sequels as I learned from the last page of the book, If you are like me you do not want to get behind. It is always nice to know that there is a book to be waited for and it is that much nicer when the book is by Mark Abramson.
—-Amos Lassen, Eureka Pride
When Tim Snow’s Aunt Ruth comes to visit him in San Francisco, she is expecting to relax and reconnect with her nephew, as well as her favorite City by the Bay. On the first day of her visit, Tim discovers the bloody body of his former lover, Jason, and a co-worker at Art’s, a restaurant and bar in the Castro. It turns out to be the first of several stabbings, including another one from Tim’s circle of acquaintances, apparently the work of a serial killer on which the police have no leads. One of the murders ironically provides an
opportunity for Aunt Ruth to consider relocating to San Francisco permanently, but she is more worried about keeping Tim and his friends safe from harm. Can Tim’s untrained psychic abilities provide a lead, or are Aunt Ruth’s gut feelings about one of his neighbors the better judge of a likely suspect?
In this second of his “Beach Reading” series of light thrillers, Abramson further develops the likeable and relatable characters he introduced in that enjoyable first book (same name as the series), and again provides a story that perfectly captures the cohesive spirit of the Castro community. While mystery purists may prefer a few more “red herrings” to complicate the solving of the crime, the author obviously intends for the series to entertain rather than challenge, and it succeeds wonderfully on that level. A clang from a streetcar, and five golden stars out of five!
—- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
May 27, 2009
The second book in Abramson’s Beach Reading series, Cold Serial Murder (Lethe Press, $15), is actually better than the first one. This one introduces Tim’s Aunt Ruth, who took Tim in when his parents disowned him for being gay.
Ruth is an interesting character in her own right and adds an outsider’s perspective to the often-inbred Castro gay community. There is also an element of mystery in this volume, involving a murderer who kills Tim’s ex-lover Jason as well as other men.
Tim and Ruth make a great team and their joint efforts to find out who the Cold Serial murderer is promises us more such efforts in the future. Mark Abramson and Lethe Press are already working on several additional volumes in their beach reading series, promising more exciting adventures for Tim, Ruth, their friends and, of course, continuing their author’s enduring love affair with San Francisco.