Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery

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Product Details

Cleis Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.9 X 8.9 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Katie Gilmartin received a Ph.D. in cultural studies from Yale, with an emphasis in queer history. After teaching the history of sexuality and queer studies for a decade at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of California, Berkeley, and The New College, she became a printmaker. Her prior publications are academic essays based on interviews she conducted with lesbians about their lives in the 1940s and 1950s. This is her first work of fiction. Gilmartin lives in San Francisco.


Lambda Award 2015 for Best Gay Mystery!
"Blackmail, My Love is a cross-genre softcover: murder mystery, pulp fiction, historical fiction, romance, picture book. In her protagonist, author and illustrator Katie Gilmartin has cut a fearless, peerless figure who is realistic but not fatalistic, sharp as a fedora, and grittier than the underworld.Joe s delight in transposing genders invites readers into the gay areas shadowing and overshadowing San Francisco s black-and-white heat. The nuanced nonchalance of the narration is juxtaposed with the desperation and determination experienced by our hero, whose straits will Mildred Pierce your soul. Fast-paced, this story puts the out in out of the past, a past that, according to the author, inhabits the future. If you like your gumshoes with gumption, this novel is right up your alley. Just keep an eye out for suspicious characters who may be lurking?and smirking?in the shadows."
Curve Magazine
"I loved this book because of its writing and the cinematic vividness with which Gilmartin creates a believable, authentic historical setting. Beyond that, I think that every LGBTQ person under 40 ought to read Blackmail, my Love, because this well-crafted novel is also a healthy, if painful, history lesson."
Prism Book Alliance
This is the Katie Gilmartin s first work of fiction, and she clearly drew on her academic work: interviews she conducted with lesbians about their lives in the 1940s and 1950s. That work paid off. Her future in fiction is bright.
"New York Journal of Books"
"Katie Gilmartin s auspicious debut offers keen and diverse pleasures. A gripping tale of murder, corruption and bittersweet revenge, hauntingly punctuated by the author s evocative illustrations, "Blackmail, My Love" is at the same time a compelling look at a moment in queer history when an oppressed and fearful minority began to discover its secret wellsprings of courage and resolve. I cherish this novel as much for its recovery of our neglected history as for its sharply drawn characters and deftly orchestrated plot."
Paul Russell, author of "Immaculate Blue" and "The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov"
Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Winner
"This intriguing noir novel captures a cultural moment, set in 1950s San Francisco at a time when gays and lesbians established a strong sense of community, despite being harassed and often arrested by law enforcement simply for congregating. "Blackmail, My Love" will entertain fans of the noir genre, but its social themes and messages about love and redemption will also appeal to a wider audience."
"ForeWord Reviews"
"Historian and practicing artist Katie Gilmartin has outdone herself with "Blackmail, My Love." This gripping and beautifully-written detective novel is actually a well-researched piece of historical fiction, illuminating San Francisco's post-World War II era, when bars were the primary mode of queer socializing and police raids really did ruin people's lives. Gilmartin has an eye for detailas detectives and historians mustand she sets her story at a time in San Francisco's history when queer communities, often segregated by race and class, matured into new modes of political consolidation and resistance. Taking seriously the idea that queer social movements emerged out of bars rather than formal homophile organizations, Gilmartin's novel charts the lives of a cast of characters (some right out of history) who work together to trap the entrappers. As a bonus, Gilmartin supplements the text with illustrative prints that enliven her already vivid prose. "Blackmail, My Love" is a must-read for anyone who enjoys queer history!"
Nan Alamilla Boyd, author of "Wide Open-Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965" and Professor of Women and Gender Studies at SFSU
"Although it is a dark tale of a harrowing timethe queer world in San Francisco in the early 1950'sthe narrative voice in "Blackmail, My Love" is fresh, keenly observant and even charming. I highly recommend Katie Gilmartin's wonderful debut novel and I am eager to see what she does next."
Michael Nava, author of the "Henry Rios" mysteries
"Gilmartin s magisterial command of her historical period ensures that the reader will be effortlessly immersed in the instant paranoia, mistrust and betrayal so typical of that pre-liberated gay era. A darkly entertaining mystery, "Blackmail, My Love" also grounds us in why the Stonewall Revolution would shortly afterward happenas well as why it had to happen."
Felice Picano, editor of "Best Gay Romance 2015"
"Katie dives so deep (and convincingly) into the still-somehow-familiar details of the city's hidden past that you'll feel like you've time-traveled. That's how you know you've had a history lesson that's tough and precious as a '50s femme."
Carol Queen, author of "The Leather Daddy and The Femme"
"A hardboiled homage and detailed, nostalgic romp through post-WWII San Francisco, "Blackmail, My Love" reveals and revels in the City of 1951 through a GLBT lens, and the history is spot-on."
Kelli Stanley, award-winning author of "City of Dragons"
"What else do I love about this book? I love that Gilmartin writes with a smooth, tough-girl smokinessshe sets the noir tone she establishes in the opening lines and never falters throughout. I love that Gilmartin gets it rightthe mise-en-scene, the history, the lesbians and gay men and drag queens and bisexuals and, of course, the villainsthe people who put us in those closets and hidden bars and speak-easy-style clubs and forced us into the underground demimonde most LGBT people inhabited until well past Stonewall.
So yesI loved this book. I loved it as a writer and a professor, as an historian and a lesbian activist. You will love it, too."
Victoria Brownworth, "Lambda Literary"
"Set in North Beach and the Tenderloin in 1951, the noir-influenced story is an inspired cocktail of fiction and historical fact, juxtaposing real places such as the Black Cat with fictional ones, like the lesbian bar Pandora s Box. The potent mix includes dollops of blackmail, butch/femme identities, McCarthyism, bar raids and police extortion."
Jim Van Buskirk, "The San Francisco Examiner""