“Z” is for Outburst by R.D. Zimmerman (1998) – Todd Mills is famous in Minneapolis. Not only is he a very successful investigative journalist for WLAK television Todd is one of the city’s best known gay men.
Mysteriously called to the old Stone Arch bridge one night he searches for the anonymous caller who promised him the lead to a blackmail story. As a powerful mid-American thunderstorm crashes down Todd encounters another man who was also summoned to the bridge. Before they can talk another figure appears and shoots the handsome young man Todd has just met on the bridge. As Todd tries to make sense of the scene he dodges a shot and then is knocked unconscious by a falling sign. As he comes to his lover, police detective Steve Rawlins, charges to his side.
At the same time Kris Kenney, formerly known as Christopher Kenney, is coping with thoughts of her future. As a teenager she had lost her testicles in an accident. Later she makes the decision to change genders and is in the midst of the process. Only partly transgendered she finds herself neither a member of the gay nor straight world. She desperately wants to find love.
With Todd on the scene of a murder and even being shot at the producers at the station are in paroxysms of joy. They have an eye catching story that forces other news sources to reference WLAK.
When it turns out the murder victim was also gay the producers are even more excited. Todd is the lead story newscast after newscast.
There are tensions between Rawlins investigating the murder and Todd investigating the story of the murder. While they love each other they are equally passionate about their work.
Rawlins has another level of stress in his life as he is HIV positive. It is an era when he could be out on the force but not open about his HIV status.
Zimmerman does a good job of plausibly connecting Kris / Chris to the investigation.
The investigation requires Todd, Rawlins and Kris / Chris to all consider their sexual orientations and how they fit into current society. The investigation takes everyone into the world of the transgendered.
It is a good book and I am glad I read it. Were it not for needing a “Z” post to finish the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise, I doubt I would have read the book.
I found myself forced to think about presumptions and assumptions in the murder of a gay man. (Oct. 1/13)
My connection to the book is the city of Minneapolis. I have traveled there numerous times over my adult years. Most recently, Sharon and I were there last January. It is quite easy to get a good deal on hotel rooms in Minneapolis in January.