In the fourth release in San Francisco Chronicle’s best-selling author Mark Abramson’s Beach Reading series of gay mysteries, all is well in the City by the Bay. Tim Snow, recently recovered from a debilitating accident, finds himself aimless and troubled over waning feelings from his boyfriend. And just when he wants to escape all the troubles in his life, new complications arise… three M’s worth of trouble: mayhem (a visit from his bigoted and big-haired cousin from Texas ), men (a handsome fashion model who’s sending mixed signals), and menace (body parts found in the dumpster of Art’s, the restaurant where Tim works as a waiter). As if the investigations of the police aren’t disruptive enough, secrets are soon revealed that affect not only Tim’s family by blood but also the treasured souls of the Castro he’s made an essential part of his life.
Excerpt from Snowman:
“Hi, I’m Marsha, Ruth’s neighbor,” she said to Dianne. “I guess you could say I’m the ‘T’ in ‘LGBT’ at the ‘LGBT Center’ down on Market Street.”
“I love your nails. What do you call that color? And pardon my asking, but are they real?”
“They are now. It’s Apricot Frost. My hair is real, too. I wore fake nails and wigs for a long time before mine grew out, but now I have my own nails and my hair is long enough to style it just like I want it.”
“I’m so sorry, did you have cancer?”
“Cancer! No, what I had was a lot worse than cancer, as far as I was concerned. I had a penis!”
Ruth returned to the front end of the bar in time to say, “Marsha, I see you’ve met my daughter.”
“Your daughter. You’re kidding. I didn’t know you had a daughter, Ruth. With all that big hair and make-up, I thought for sure she was a drag queen!”
By Mark Abramson
Wayne Gunn – Lambda Literary Foundation
In these days of so many self-inflated blogs from authors, it is downright refreshing to read a book that aims simply and honestly to provide “beach reading.” This fourth excursion into the heart of Tim Snow admirably fulfills its goal. Again, a lot of different stories unfold. In trying to help out the owners of the restaurant at which Tim and sometimes his Aunt Ruth work, Tim’s boyfriend, Nick Musgrove, discovers that body parts account for some of the clogged-up sewer lines. San Francisco’s finest quickly muddle the investigation. So, as before, Aunt Ruth, aided this time by her cat, comes to the rescue. There are other issues to occupy her also. She is worried because Tim and Nick are going through a rough moment mostly of Tim’s making (a wandering eye and commitment issues). In a laugh-out-loud comic turn, her “big hair” daughter, Dianne, leaves the safety of Texas and braves catching AIDS (and who know what else?) on a secret quest of her own. And Sam, Ruth’s boyfriend, has at least one secret of his own (though she’s already guessed it). In the end, the least likely suspect is unmasked as the killer, and, of course, all is set right. Without ever seeming derivative, the series clearly is indebted to Armistead Maupin. The author has great fun with his characters; so does the reader.
E.B. Boatner – Lavender Magazine – Minneapolis
Tim Snow–“Snowman” to his lover, Nick–finally is recovering from injuries incurred in Russian River Rat, Abramson’s third Beach Reading volume. Warm spring days are emerging. Tim’s restless, and his ever-present leitmotiv of paranoia has kicked in, whispering that Nick, who cared for him devotedly while he was laid up, is tired of him. (Or maybe vice-versa?) Tim leaves to “take a break,” getting no further than the lavish hacienda of Aunt Ruth’s boyfriend, Sam, where Tim learns body parts have been found in the dumpster behind Arts, the restaurant where Tim works. The plot thickens, enveloping the usual cast of characters: Aunt Ruth; bar owners Artie and Arturo; dipsomaniac neighbor Teresa; Nick; Adam, a hunky straight black man to whom Tim is disturbingly attracted; and Dianne, Tim’s loathsome Texas cousin. Abramson escalates the plot nicely, ratcheting up the suspense and macabre ambiance, all the while preparing the reader–and Tim–for the revelation of some long-kept family secrets.
SNOWMAN (BEACH READING 4)
by Mark Abramson
When body parts were found in the sewer pipes at the Castro restaurant where Tim Snow usually works, he was just recovering from injuries suffered in his last adventure with “bad guys.” His boyfriend Nick, helping out the gay owners of the restaurant, made the discovery, but it is Tim’s Aunt Ruth and Nick’s author grandmother, Amanda Musgrove, who stumble on the possible crime scene, and lead the police to investigate possible leads to drug runners in the area. Meanwhile, Tim is trying his best to deal with his bigoted Texas cousin, Ruth’s daughter Dianne, but can’t resist goading her into confrontations about his being gay. Ruth is giving Dianne as much space as possible as well, choosing to spend as much time as possible with her fiancé, Sam.
In this fourth of his “Beach Reading” series of mysteries, the author creates one heck of a suspenseful page turner, featuring the characters already endeared to those of us who read the earlier books in the series. (While reading them all in order is not a must, as Abramson provides sufficient detail for “newbies” to catch up on what they need to know, I do indeed recommend reading them all, as this is absolutely the best gay mystery series to come along in at least a decade!) As always, the writing takes you to the Castro instantly, and you can almost smell the sourdough bread! Five perfect stars out of five.
– Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
This review is from: Snowman (Paperback)Abramson, Mark.”Snowman”, Lethe Press, 2010.
Mark Abramson Does It Again
I began reading Mark Abramson with his beach reading series and he keeps getting better and better. “Snowman” is his latest and I read it in one sitting. This is the fourth in the series that introduced us to Tim Snow, an amateur private eye and waiter.
We meet Tim this time as he is in the process of overcoming the results of a really bad accident. He is worried about what is happening between himself and his boyfriend and he decides he needs to avoid all of the troubles in his life. Suddenly new troubles come to the fore–his bigoted cousin from Texas comes for a visit, he meets a handsome male model and body parts are found in the dumpster at the restaurant where he works. Somehow Tim finds himself in all of this and when the policemen begin to investigate the restaurant, secrets that were hidden become public and not only is Tim affected but so are his friends.
I don’t know how Mark Abramson does it but he managed to get me to stay seated and reading until I finished the novel. He can really tell a story and bring the reader into it. His characters are very real and just like all of us. Now I wonder how long I have to wait until the next book comes out.