Second in the series of Mark Manning mysteries
by Michael Craft
Hardcover published June 1998
It begins simply enough when Chicago Journal reporter Mark Manning is assigned to replace a colleague on a top story. Renowned astrophysicist Pavo Zarnik claims to have discovered a tenth planet, but to the skeptical reporter, there is no story because there is no proof. And without proof, there is no element of mystery . . . until Manning makes some startling discoveries of his own. Then Zarnik’s story is no longer a matter of physics, but of murder. And it’s not just foul play that captures Manning’s imagination. He has a new assistant, cub reporter David Bosch, whose sole interest in journalism seems to be Mark himself—awakening in Manning every yearning he has struggled to keep in check since building his new life with another man, architect Neil Waite. Eye Contact is a fiercely unpredictable, adrenaline-rushed story of murder, erotic illusion, and a devastating crime that reveals the mysteries of the human heart.
Eye Contact is a “big story,” both in terms of pages and in terms of its narrative scope. It deals with big events that are played out on a very big, very public stage. Because these events are entirely fictitious, I set this story in the near future, during the summer of 1999, a year after the book’s publication, so that these events would not already be contradicted by history and by common knowledge. In other words, I set this novel in the future in an attempt to preserve the plausibility of the plot.
This also allowed me to pick up on Manning and Neil’s relationship two years after they’d found each other in Flight Dreams. In my own past relationships, I’ve found that the two-year point seems particularly vulnerable for couples. The honeymoon is long over, and for the relationship to survive, both partners must come to understand that their future together now depends upon mutual commitment, not merely “attraction.” That struggle is the subplot of Eye Contact.
“Michael Craft neatly ties the further adventures of his gay reporter hero into news issues of the ’90s—and is carving out a genre all his own.”
“A special work, erotic in its mystery . . . Michael Craft demonstrates he is an artist as he crafts a beautiful relationship drama.”
“It is with sleep-blurred eyes and a desperate craving for caffeine that I find myself at the word processor this morning. Why? Quite simply, the blame lies within the pages of Michael Craft’s latest Mark Manning mystery. I should have know that a page-turner such as Eye Contact would keep me up well into the wee hours of the morning, absolutely frantic to find the solution to this compelling murder mystery.”
“Eroticism crackles in key scenes, increasing the suspense enormously . . . Towards the end, the reader is racing through the pages . . . I’m eagerly awaiting the next Mark Manning mystery.”
“The scenes of gay domestic life, which show a welcome sensitivity, could go far toward helping this gay mystery enlarge, or even escape, its niche.”
“Good plotting, with witty conversations, erotic dreams, and a philosophical moment or two. Recommended.”
“It’s a fascinating new novel by one of my all-time favorite authors.”
“Beautifully written . . . an old-fashioned mystery with an urban, modern, groundbreaking perspective.”
“The successor to Michael Craft’s 1997 page-turning, pulse-churning
Flight Dreams . . . Eye Contact is more controlled and nuanced,
with a solid plot that never unravels.”
In March 2002, the first three Mark Manning novelsFlight Dreams, Eye Contact, and Body Languagewere published as an 880-page omnibus edition in the Triangle Classics series from InsightOut Books. The text pages of the trilogy, priced at $14.99, are exact photomechanical reproductions from the original editions. InsightOut Books, associated with Book of the Month Club, can be visited at www.insightoutbooks.com.
Click here to read an excerpt from Eye Contact.
Click here to read a related interview by William E. Robbins.
Click here to order Eye Contact (trade paperback) from Amazon.com.
Click here to order SIGNED copies.