Book Reviews

Faultlines by Stan Leventhal at ReQueered Tales

Genre Gay / Mixed Orientations / Contemporary / Action/Adventure / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by ParisDude on 12-May-2023

Book Blurb

New York-bred Kevin O'Conover, white, gay and twenty-something, thought two weeks in San Francisco would make a fine holiday ... until he woke up in the dark, tied up on a concrete floor, and with a splitting headache. He finds Thad Heath, ex-Vietnam vet, black and straight, tied to a metal pole beside him. What are they doing held captive in crime boss Jack Corrigan's basement? Corrigan’s maid Leona Ramirez helps them to escape in a van about to set out to distribute cocaine at a strip mall drop-off. Two thugs, vicious Sam and not-too-bright Kurt, are driving and, when the boys escape in the mall parking lot, there ensues a chase into the woods and hills where Kevin and Thad fall into the rescuing arms of Weslya, an off-the-grid reclusive child-of-the-60s pot-toking hippie ...

In this madcap, verging on surreal, adventure, Stan Leventhal spares no stereotype of comic treatment, while always employing a velvet, soft hand: you know goodness rules, even when Sam is on the loose. As in caper-style fast-paced stories, unlikely coincidences twist the action, sometimes like a whiplash: the reader has no choice but to chuckle and succumb. And following a plethora of other characters – a cocaine addled preacher's wife, an acolyte who bleeds literally for Jesus, an investigative journalist wearing brown polyester suits two sizes too big, two dykes as fire marshalls and Paula Bluefeather who ... well, it's a faerie-tale, after all, and the fun is how it all works out.



Second edition

Book Review

As Alexander Inglis points out in his sympathetic foreword to this book, Stan Leventhal’s motto was apparently, “Literature is crucial to our lives; reading is fun.” I feel compelled to shout a loud “hear, hear” to the first part, and a grateful “thanks to you, Stan” to the second. Because yes, this was a fun read. There are criminals in it (plus cops and firefighters), and people die, and yet it’s not a murder mystery. There are pursuits, and yet, it’s no action book. Some characters fall in love, and yet, it’s no romance. No, this was a weird mash-up of different storylines; a romp with loads of unexpected twists and turns, a caper, almost a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the adventure story genre where I could feel the author wink at me at each turn of page.


The whole novel starts with a bang. Kevin O’Connor, a young gay New Yorker on vacation in San Francisco, comes to in a dark cave, bound and with a hurting head. He doesn’t know what happened and how he landed in this odd situation. But he’s not alone. There’s another man, Thad, tied up to a pole, who tells him they’re in the hands of a small-scale yet dangerous mafioso, Jack Corrigan. The two manage to rid themselves of their ties, and Corrigan’s Latina housemaid Leona, who secretly has a bone to pick with her boss (she suspects him to have killed her husband), helps them escape the house in a van driven by Corrigan’s henchmen, wannabe torturer Sam and dimwit Kevin. After a longish ride, when the thugs reach their destination, they discover their stowaways and chase them into the woods, where Kevin and Thad find refuge with Weslya, who lives a recluse’s life in a shack. Little do the three know that their adventures have only started and that their creator, Stan Leventhal, has still many a twist up his sleeves…


After ‘The Black Marble Pool’ (a murder mystery) and ‘Mountain Climbing in Sheridan Square’ (an autobiographical novel), this is now the third book of the late Stan Leventhal I’ve read (for the two previous reviews, please look here and here), and it’s also the third time I’ve closed a Leventhal-book sighing and regretting his way too early dearth. I admit ‘Faultlines’ turned out not to be my favorite. But it still captivated me and filled me with awe as to the writer’s capacity to venture into yet another genre and do so with what reads like utter facility. I had the eerie impression that the writer not only had read Armistead Maupin’s ‘Tales of the City’ series (the first six books predate the publication of this novel) but had also liked them so much to allow the influence of their rich cast of characters and their almost hodgepodge tales.


The story of ‘Faultlines’ was oddly riveting. “Oddly” because it was a page-turner even though after a few chapters I realized there wouldn’t be any real suspense. The bad guys were not only bad but so caricaturally stupid (drunk, immoral, take your pick) that I knew they would never succeed in their evil endeavors. It was also obvious that the good guys were guaranteed to reap the rewards for their goodness. All the characters were a bit too over-the-topish, which was partly what made them so endearing (even the evil ones, I admit). So, the surprise as to what awaited each and every one was basically rather limited. And yet, I was unable to foresee what good or bad fortune Leventhal would deal out to each of them. This author excels in what one calls “spinning a perfectly good yarn.”


Therefore, this book gets a wholehearted recommendation from me. I also count myself lucky that there’s one last Leventhal novel for me to be discovered (again republished by ReQueered Tales and already on my TBR).





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the author. This book has been provided by ReQueered Tales for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 247 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-March-2023
Price $7.95 ebook
Buy Link