A resistant bacterial strain is plaguing the city of Detroit and its suburbs, and is quickly spreading to other parts of the country. Dr. Eunice Sabara, a renowned infectious disease specialist, is working around the clock to find a cure, and she’s really close to one when she’s found brutally murdered in her home office.
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Carmen Polychronopoulos is a national merit scholar and a highly exceptional high school senior, but she has a terrible secret. Elliot Sharples is the young, disfigured custodian who adores her. Together they suspend the reader into a bittersweet, beauty-and-the-beast tale riddled with tragedy, hope, and inspiration.Carmen, who has been labeled…
Before leaving Dr. Sabara’s house, her assailants can’t resist putting a bullet into the hard drive of the computer that contains the bulk of her research, no doubt to emphasize how little they regarded the work she’s been doing. The horrible truth is, however, that the cure for the resistant bacterial strain had been on that hard drive, and was subsequently lost when it was destroyed. And destroyed right along with it is the hope of thousands of people who have already contracted and are currently suffering from the disease.
It’s also unsettling to note that the neighborhood Dr. Sabara had lived in is filled with swastika-wearing, golf-club wielding, gay- and lesbian-bashing thugs who seem to hate just for the fun of it. And there are even a few upstanding citizens in Galena, men and women many consider the pillars of the community, who found Dr. Sabara’s lesbian lifestyle just as distasteful as the neighborhood toughs did. The once quiet, conservative community of Galena has never been so glaringly spotlighted before, and its residents don’t like the attention at all.
In walks Rein Connery, the police detective who’s been assigned to track down Dr. Sabara’s killers and bring them to justice. While getting the job done, Rein befriends a battle weary, yet far from defeated, Joby Rowe and a whole host of her allies, a group of self-described “transgender warriors” (a term coined by Leslie Feinberg’s book of the same name) who aren’t afraid to live their lives as they see fit. Among them is Mattie Duncan, a woman whose gender-identity doesn’t quite match her sex; Raymond Lazaro Ferra, a cross-dressing, heterosexual male; Candy Brown, the former man who’s undergone sexual reassignment and now couldn’t be happier as a woman; and teenager Yvonne Rasmussen, a heterosexual female who believes that people should be allowed the freedom to dress, act, and express themselves in ways that make them happy in this colorful, if not grimly realistic, slice of Americana.
Joby Rowe explains that the word G-A-Y is an acronym for the phrase “Good As You”. Rein Connery is also schooled in the urgency and need to accept people as they are. And once Rein gets to know these warriors, he finds out that they are decent, hard-working people who are struggling to be free and happy just like everyone else.
The theme of the story is summarized by Yvonne when she tells Detective Connery, “[I’m not homosexual,] but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in their right to exist. Do you have to be homeless to have empathy for someone who doesn’t have a home? Do you have to be black to abhor segregation? Do you have to be dying of a disease to want to see a cure for it?”
Let’s all pray that the answer to each of the questions Yvonne poses above is a resounding and unequivocal, NO.