Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Felony & Mayhem Press - The Valentine & Lovelace Series

Last year Felony & Mayhem brought back the four Valentine and Lovelace books. Written and published throughout the 80s, this series was a collaboration between Michael McDowell and Dennis Schuetz under the pseudonym Nathan Aldyne. I have to say they did an amazing job with the covers (credit to Andy Alves). Take a look below and let us know what you think. There's a funny little blog post on the their website about the cover design process: "The Moustache Wars". In addition to the Lovelace series, Felony also brought the three Jack & Susan books back into print. I'll do a post about those separately.

From the Felony website:

First in a series of four mysteries set in Boston in the 1980s and featuring the investigative duo of Daniel Valentine, a gay bartender and former social worker, and Clarisse Lovelace, his straight pal. Reading this light and breezy series set in the pre-AIDS period is a bit like stepping into a time machine. Written by the duo of Michael McDowell, who also worked as a screenwriter, and Dennis Schuetz, the books feature a central relationship that is cinematic and quippy in the manner of Nick and Nora Charles from the “Thin Man” movies.

Vermillion (1980) In Vermilion, the duo end up investigating the murder of a young gay hustler whose body turns up on the lawn of a homophobic lawmaker. When a detective comes around Valentine’s bar asking questions and casting suspicion on Val himself, there is no choice but for our amateur sleuths to figure out the truth for themselves.

Cobalt (1982)  The setting? Provincetown, circa the early 1980s, otherwise known as Sodom-by-the-Sea. The place? Only the hottest party in town, darling, and you’re invited! Clarisse, for one, is thrilled to strap on her dancing shoes: Not only is there an entire gaggle of gay men (who better to appreciate her divine diva-tude?), but some of them are very pretty (and Ma’amselle does like her eye-candy). Even better, a murder is announced, and since it’s nobody that anyone knew well, Clarisse is free to disregard all the niceties of Oh, how terrible, and concentrate entirely on poking into other people’s business. Valentine’s on hand to help, of course, though a little distracted – I mean, if a gorgeous gay bartender can’t find love in 1980s P’town, he might as well hand in his Donna Summer albums.

Slate (1984)  In this third outing for Daniel Valentine and Clarisse Lovelace—denizens of Boston’s gay subculture of the 80s—the duo decide to open a new gay bar in a run-down building gifted to them by Clarisse’s gay uncle Noah. Like the rest of this cracklingly witty, fast-paced series, Slate is set in an exuberantly pre-AIDS world, when to be young, attractive, and not a murder victim was a dandy thing indeed. Clarisse has hauled her dainty posterior off to law school, Valentine turns the new place into Boston’s grooviest gay boite, Donna Summer is still on the radio, and there’s a dead body at the disco.

Canary (1986) Last in the delightfully funny Valentine and Lovelace series, Canary finds our two protagonists a bit the worse for wear. Lovelace’s bar, once the darling of Boston’s gay brigade, is losing money like crazy, largely because someone keeps insisting on leaving dead bodies around. Do that often enough, and people start to stay away. The cops—this IS the 1980s, after all—are not wildly interested in the gay community’s problems, so Lovelace and Clarisse set up shop as sleuths, determined to stop the killer before he puts them out of business. As always, the real action here is in the rapid-fire dialogue: Imagine The Thin Man….only set in the 1980s, in a world populated by drag queens and the women to whom they give make-up tips.

Check out the Felony website here.


  1. I have three of these titles in their original '80s paperback incarnations but haven't read them; however, I think I'll enjoy them very much.

    1. If you find out who the cover artist is for those editions, I'm more than interested! No luck in that department, I'm afraid.