Mitzel, John. “Inferno Heights”, Calamus Books, 2009.
A Dark Comic Novel
For those of you who do not know who John Mitzel is, he is one of the few LGBT independent booksellers left and his Calamus Bookstore in Boston’s Leather District is quite a treat. The number of books and DVDs is amazing and you will always find something you want. For the less literate there is also a fine collection of gay porn (both books and movies).
Mitzel has also written several novels and non-fiction. “Inferno Heights” is set in 1980 in Hell which seems to be for sale. There is really only one buyer interested in it and aside from being able to afford the exorbitant price, he is a man of ambition and determination. He wants to develop Hell into a spectacular real estate development but there are forces working against him who eschew change and they are willing to go the distance so that the status quo will remain preserved. These people include Bunny LaRue and his assistant, Helen Shumway (property developers). As we see the two sides battle for possession of Hell we get a lot of dirty dealings, intrigue, lies and deceit and a strange cast of characters that resemble those we met in Dante’s “Inferno”.
LaRue succeeds in purchasing Hell and as he begins to develop it, some very strange characters, residents of the underworld, decide that they want in on the deal. Hell will never be what it once was and Mitzel gives us a satire on a satire. To give you an idea just what the satirical level is, I can only say that to review this would be to give too much away and spoil the fun for a perspective reader but I will say that the satire and irony slap you across the face—first with a tap and then with a sting. All is not humor and there are several very serious passages. If you are from Boston or know the area well, this is highly recommended.
Mitzel, John. “Doubly Crost”, Calamus Books, 2009.
Mitzel followed the novel with “Doubly Crost” in which he explores the other end of the gamut—heaven. Now LaRue has more plans that came to him after a three day binge as he is steaming the poison out of him. After a short nap, he awakens to find everything different than it was before he fell asleep and dead writers seem to be everywhere. He manages to find some that are stil alive and forms alliances with the attempt to bring about a new Heavenly Order.
- Posted in: GLBT fiction