Local author/historian Owen Keehnen has recently published two new novels, The Matinee Idol and Love Underground. Both books are available at online sources as well as at Unabridged Books ( 3251 N. Broadway ) for $16.
Silent era Hollywood provides the backdrop for the historic M/M romance, The Matinee Idol. At the height of the roaring 1920s, Raymond Richmond leaves Iowa and heads for Hollywood with dreams of silent film stardom in his head. In Los Angeles, he meets Brick, a ruggedly handsome Montana cowboy. The two soon become a couple. As Raymond's career takes off, he is forced to choose between love and stardom. Raymond chooses his career, but even as his star ascends, the pain he feels from losing Brick proves too much. His career begins to suffer and scandals follow. Shortly after the advent of talkies, Raymond finds himself without a studio contract. Desperate and alone, he eventually resorts to any means necessary to satisfy his addiction to alcohol. At his lowest point, Raymond is reunited with Brick. By then, both men have their demons. Spanning over a decade, The Matinee Idol is a timeless tale of second chances and the redemptive power of love.
Love Underground is a gay suspense/romance novel set in Chicago's notorious Lawson YMCA in 1962. Told in diary form, this is the love story of handsome forty-something retail worker Joseph meeting bodybuilder Clint at a Chicago department store. The men soon discover they are both living at the Lawson. Despite their mutual attraction, each is hesitant to make the first move. Though love eventually blooms, their story is not one of happily ever after. The legal and social consequences of homosexuality during the Cold War era are brutal, but due to an unusual set of circumstances, the stakes for these two men are even higher. Soon after Joseph meets Clint's powerful parents, a series of unsettling events begin to unfold. Desperate and afraid, the couple flee Chicago. Going underground they traverse the country, falling deeper in love while running from an unknown enemy.