Chimney Sweeper

Chimney Sweeper

5.0 1
by John Peyton Cooke, Cooke
     
 

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Jesse James Colson drifted into Isthmus City in a pair of too-tight blue jeans and stolen 14-eye Doc Martens, flashing a twisted grin and carrying a loaded .38 in his waistband. Before this night was over, someone was going to die from a bullet in Jesse's gun - one more death in a long, strange death trip. But Jesse would be married to this killing forever. Jesse… See more details below

Overview

Jesse James Colson drifted into Isthmus City in a pair of too-tight blue jeans and stolen 14-eye Doc Martens, flashing a twisted grin and carrying a loaded .38 in his waistband. Before this night was over, someone was going to die from a bullet in Jesse's gun - one more death in a long, strange death trip. But Jesse would be married to this killing forever. Jesse stuffed the body of his victim into the chimney of an abandoned house before he fled Isthmus City that night. Then the city pulled him back - battered, bloodied, and stumbling wildly into the arms of an older man with bizarre tastes. In Isthmus City's gay community, Jesse found a home. Then he found a career and another side of himself. He became a cop. Burying years of rage, pain, and confusion into a custom-tailored, tight-fitting blue cotton uniform, he learned what it took to react under pressure, to match criminals with their crimes, even to pull the trigger on his 9mm Glock. He almost learned to forget about his violent past. Until he was called to a half-demolished crack house to investigate a grisly discovery: a skeleton in a chimney...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arriving in Isthmus City, Wis., (think Madison) with ``forty-two cents in change, and a stolen .38 revolver that had four live rounds in a six-chambered cylinder,'' a hustler soon murders a transvestite and stuffs the body into the chimney of an abandoned house. That's just for openers in this gritty and graphic, tell-it-like-it-is tale of violence, betrayal and murder. After stints as bartender and boy-toy for an older gay man, protagonist Jesse James Colson meets Will Gunther, an openly gay Isthmus City cop. Unable to resist the uniform's appeal, Jesse joins the force and links up romantically with Will. Another cop tells Jesse that ``a murder is like a marriage''-a theory that proves true in forceful and unexpected fashion. Cooke's (Torsos) skillful plotting and credible characters lend an unsettling air to this often brutally effective, noir mystery. His deceptively simple prose is tinged with dark humor and more than a touch of menace, while flashbacks to Jesse's teen years provide a reliable underpinning for a solidly drawn, fascinating antihero. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Narrator Jesse James Colson plays the law from both sides in this unusually gripping tale of murder and detection. Jesse begins as a young drifter, full of homophobic rage but preoccupied with the effect his hefty bulge and tight buns have on certain men. Jesse murders a transvestite, gets himself raped by a sleazy truck driver, then is rehabilitated by an "old queen." After two years, Jesse becomes a cop and helps investigate the very murder he committed. Lean prose, frank sexuality, and psychological intensity reveal a masterful effort-and an exceptional worldview-from the author of Torsos (LJ 11/15/93).
Charles Harmon
Jesse James Colson runs away from his trailer-park home to Isthmus City, known for its large gay population. On the way there, he "ends up" killing a couple of people. On his first day in town, he kills a transsexual and hides the body in a chimney. He moves in with a gay bar owner who hires him as a bartender cum houseboy and sets him up with Will, a cop who recruits Jesse to the force. Jesse and Will's affair lasts several months, during which they befriend a lesbian couple both of whom are cops, too. Meanwhile, another police colleague, a detective, manages to string together Jesse's murders; but he decides that Jesse won't kill again and lets him off. Then comes the climax, however, and Will must turn on Jesse. Cooke's pacing, skill with minor characters, and ability to humanize Jesse overcome his tendency to indulge unbelievable plot twists. Ultimately, Cooke makes this a compelling read that should please a large audience.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446403887
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
07/01/1996
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
4.22(w) x 6.78(h) x 0.78(d)

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