in the series of
Mark Manning mysteries
by Michael Craft
During his distinguished career as a journalist, Mark Manning has seen
it allriots, murder, political corruption, and every manifestation
of the dark heart of the human species. But even his proven emotional
resources will be stretched when the home he shares with his lover, architect
Neil Waite, and his ward and nephew, Thad Quatrain, becomes the site of
one of the most daunting, taxing, and potentially dangerous of all human
In many ways, my sixth Mark Manning mystery seemed to write itself. Previous installments had established a momentum of converging plotlines that cried for resolution in this book. When I set to the task of outlining the story, I found that its overarching framework was already in place. All of the subplots relating to Mannings home life were drawing to a close.
The main subplot of these books, which gives the series its serial flavor, has dealt with Mannings self-recognition and development as a well-adjusted gay male. In Hot Spot, hes where I want him to be in his journey toward maturity; in fact, hes where I myself hope to be in my own life.
The ending of the book, therefore, has an unmistakable tone of finish and conclusion, but loyal readers neednt fret. This is not meant to signal the end of the series. In fact, a seventh Mark Manning is already contracted for. But future books will doubtless exhibit a shift in tone and focus, and the stories may grow a bit darker, with more edge. Well see. As a writer, I feel that Ive now sufficiently explored the phase of Mannings life that ends in Hot Spot. He and I are now itching to try something different, and the results of that exploration are scheduled for publication by St. Martins in August 2004.
Regular readers of the series will also note that the main plot of Hot
Spotthe whodunitis considerably more topical, timely,
and opinionated than previous installments. The story deals, at least
tangentially, with some political issues that affect me deeply and stir
me passionately. If the depth of those feelings sometimes spills over
into the narrative, so be it. I offer no apologies.
Beneath Craft's trademark gay-rights updates is another sly retro
puzzler complete with formal gatherings, understated gossip, half a dozen
red herrings, and clues by the bushel. The best of Mark's six cases to
“If you haven't picked up one of Michael Craft's Mark Manning mysteries
yet, you're missing out—they're light on the camp factor and with
just the right amount of bizarre intrigue and sexual tension.”
Michael Crafts Mark Manning mysteries get better with each
book written . . . Hot Spot is a one-sitting read, impossible to
put down until the last page is turned.
Click here to read an excerpt from Hot Spot.
Click here to read a related interview by Craig Lawver.
Click here to order Hot Spot (hardcover) from Amazon.com.
Click here to order Hot Spot (paperback) from Amazon.com.
Click here to order SIGNED copies.