Mackle, Elliott. "Hot off the Presses: A Novel" Lethe, 2010.
Henry Thompson Has Problems
Once again Lethe Press brings us a good book--I mean a wonderful book. I have never read Elliott Mackle before but I hope to be reading him for a very long time. "Hot Off the Presses" is a great read. It has everything--a good plot, humor, characters are wonderfully drawn and a great look at gay life. Henry Thompson is the editor of "Outlines", a gay newspaper in Atlanta and he has his share of problems. Atlanta being a Southern city has its share of fundamentalists, haters and corruption. I know, I am from the South. Thompson, is having trouble with the paper's conservative, old-money owners and with the mayor of Atlanta who is an example of a corrupt political machine. He is also an evangelical clergyman, and he does not believe that African-American men are at risk with AIDS and he does not feel that there is a reason to take federal funding for safe-sex-education especially because the Atlanta Olympics right around the corner. At the same time, the newsroom workers want the paper to be even more radical than it already is. Meanwhile, Henry's rebellious newsroom staff is pushing to put out a more radical paper. Henry has had his own experience with AIDS--his lover was taken from him by the disease and he sees the young gay community not paying attention to safer sex guidelines. Henry thinks that one way to relax and get away from all of the craziness is to get a massage and so he trots off to his men's club for a session with a tantric masseur. He then went into the steam room and becomes involved with Wade Tarpley, a local sports hero and a favorite to bring home the gold medals at the upcoming Olympics. They begin an affair and Henry introduces Wade who is in the closet to Skip Roberts, his best friend and masseur. Both Henry and Skip are into Body magic which is a form of Tantric Massage that is about using erotic energy, out-of-body experiences and shamanistic trance states. As can be expected, Skip and Wade become involved but not secretly and in the locker room at the Georgia Dome during the Olympics and does. The story breaks and is picked up by CNN, NBC and "Sports Illustrated" But as the media usually does, it blows the entire business out of proportion and Henry, who knows what really happened, is looking right in the face of a major problem. He has to decide if he should blow the whistle on his friends and be the kind of person a reported should be or should he cover it up? Thompson gets a lesson in the ethics of reporting from Brian Murphy, a veteran reporter and he is able to face the difficulties in front of him (and he falls in love). Here is the story of one man who not only finds love but himself as well and the tale is masterly told by Mackle. This is the ideal book. Everything about it is first rate and this is one book that you do not want to miss.
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