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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 18, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 3
Buck 98: He's a bargain at twice the price
Arts & Entertainment
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Buck 98: He's a bargain at twice the price

THE JESUS INJECTION: A BUCK 98 ADVENTURE
ERIC ANDREWS-KATZ
(Bold Strokes; 227 pp)


Agent Buck 98 has a super-secret weapon: his encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater, which - as he continually reminds his colleague, the lovely Noxia von Tüssëll - explains everything one needs to know about human nature. This asset serves him well in his undercover quest to find the secret of the 'Jesus injection' in this new novel by longtime SGN arts writer Eric Andrews-Katz.

Buck's mission involves the search for clues in the death of a famed AIDS researcher who was rumored to have discovered a cure for the disease. But the doctor's lab notes have vanished, and his politically ambitious widow is not entirely sympathetic to her late husband's cause - and may have used his research for a rather more sinister purpose.

There are some colorful characters and situations here: Raven, a charismatic, showbiz-savvy female religious figure reminiscent of Elmer Gantry's Sharon Falconer; Lulu-Belle, a sunny but enigmatic Southerner who typifies in Faulkneresque fashion the light/dark dichotomy of the region; and a believable, well-paced romantic subplot that is the focus of the book's best-written scenes. A relatively short novel, its central mystery is not highly complex but explores various topics of interest to the LGBT community in an easily digested fashion that a broad spectrum of readers should find agreeable, whether or not they are fans of the spy and/or mystery genres.

While no one will mistake Agent 98 for 007 (at least no one who can count), Andrews-Katz displays a keen ear for dialogue and a good sense of style and humor. I look forward to more from him. - C.J. Bille

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