Written by Anne Laughlin
$16.95; Bold Stroke Books; 235
Chicago-based lesbian mystery author Anne Laughlin has written a new book, Veritas, involving intrigue and murder at a small Midwestern college campus.
In the tradition of classic Naiad lesbian novels, this Bold Strokes Books paperback is a quick read showing insight and mystery surrounding a lesbian protagonist, Dean Beth Ellis, and her students and colleagues at Grafton College.
Laughlin gets the action moving quickly, but she allows characters to reveal their complications and motivations only as necessary for the reader.
Meanwhile, we see how Ellis copes with smalltown lesbian life. We're introduced to the area's lesbian Don Juan, an auto mechanic, and other lesbians in Ellis' very small circle of friends. A former Chicago homicide cop, Sally Sullivan, is the town's police chief; she is a native of the area who has somehow escaped Ellis's attention so far. They come together to help solve the murders. Can love be far behind?
Writer Laughlin juggles the plot while Ellis juggles between her desire for love and the need to solve the campus murders: "Beth made her way through the crowd and headed out into the sunny spring day, the sort of day that made her want to dance and play and laugh and have sex, except that she was the dean of Grafton College and there was a murderer running loose, and why would she be thinking of such things?" While summer isn't here yet, this is one of those books that you can read lounging on the beach in an afternoon, or perhaps curled up in winter in front of a space heater in Chicago. Either way, you'll get a fun mix of mystery, passion and insight.
Laughlin's stories have been published in anthologies produced by Alyson Books, Cleis Press, and Bold Strokes Books. Her first novel, Sometimes Quickly, was published by P.D. Publishing.
Laughlin was named an Emerging Writer by the Lambda Literary Foundation in 2008. In 2009 she was awarded a writing residency at Ragdale.