ADDRESSES: Home—CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Kensington Publishing Corp., 850 3rd Ave., New York, NY 10022.
"ROBERT WILSOP MYSTERY" SERIES
Someone Killed His Boyfriend, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Going Down for the Count, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Wearing Black to the White Party, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Biceps of Death, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2004, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: David Stukas was born in the Midwest and lived in New York, Baltimore, and West Palm Beach before settling in California. He is the author of a series of comedic mysteries starring Robert Wilsop, a gay copywriter for feminine hygiene products, that begins with Someone Killed His Boyfriend, set on the coast, from Manhattan to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Robert is not in a relationship but admires Rupert Everett, while his buddy, Michael, who has had a string of relationships, seems to have finally found the one in Max, a handsome Southerner. Robert is envious but helps plan their wedding, which will be attended by 1,500 of their closest friends. One the day of the ceremony, however, Max disappears with a Matisse belonging to Michael, leaving him standing at the altar and with an empty spot on his wall. Robert and Michael follow Max's trail to Provincetown, where they discover he has been killed and left with a glove from a Bette Davis drag review draped around his neck.
Lambda Book Report contributor G. M. Kramer wrote that Stukas "makes some astute, if obvious, comments about how the socially inferior Robert sees the world. (His bit about gay men's names is quite good). In ad-dition there are cute potshots taken at drag queens both bitter and sensitive, as well as 'The Dragon Lady of Drag,' a Bette Davis impersonator, who claims to have channeled the spirit of the late actress."
"Often hilarious, sometimes silly and occasionally cliched, this fast-moving farce gives a riotous view of the gay rich boy scene of sex, money and outrageous flamboyance," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Booklist's Whitney Scott wrote that "this breezy page-turner is laugh-out-loud entertainment. Irresistible."
The major characters from Someone Killed His Boyfriend, including Robert's lesbian friend and soccer star of Amazonian proportions, Monette, return in Going Down for the Count. Robert is being romanced by Count Siegfreid, while Michael tries to win him away, unsuccessfully, for himself. Robert and the count fly to Germany, with a possible wedding in the works. Michael shows up with his homophobic mother, as does Monette, when Robert finds himself lonely as his lover becomes preoccupied with business and asks her to keep him company. Before long, the count is found stabbed to death, and this time it is Robert who needs help proving his innocence. A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked that "though the tone is high camp throughout, Stukas piles the layers of froth onto the sturdy frame of a clever, intricate whodunit."
A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "mystery buffs of all sexual persuasions will find much to amuse in Stukas's third novel." Wearing Black to the White Party, finds Robert and Michael in Palm Springs attending the Red Party, which follows the White Party of the title. The upcoming event is being promoted by Rex Gifford, head of T-Rex Productions. He tells the pair that he has been receiving extortion letters, which they all take seriously when a palm tree falls on Rex's house, nearly killing him and Michael, followed by an exploding gas grill. The party planning goes ahead, but then Rex is found electrocuted in the pool of his business partner Marc Baldwin, with whom Robert is now having an affair. Marc is a suspect, as are a number of White Party promoters who don't want to be outdone, and Robert and Monette take up the task of finding Rex's murderer.
In Biceps of Death, trainer Eric Bogert is pushed to his death from his high-rise balcony, but not before putting a revealing CD in Robert's gym bag. It contains clips of well-known New Yorkers acting out their sexual fantasies, and at least one of them will do anything to protect his identity. Robert and Monette interview suspects that include a fashion designer, mayoral candidate, televangelist, and art collector, while Michael investigates in his own way. A Publishers Weekly critic felt that the story that "hangs together quite nicely," is "secondary to the slings and arrows with which Stukas skewers the gay, the straight, and the twisted."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2001, Whitney Scott, review of Someone Killed His Boyfriend, p. 2099.
Lambda Book Report, October, 2001, G. M. Kramer, review of Someone Killed His Boyfriend, p. 18; December, 2003, Kenneth Harrison, review of Wearing Black to the White Party, p. 29.
Library Journal, August, 2003, Rex Klett, review of Wearing Black to the White Party, p. 140.
Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2001, review of Someone Killed His Boyfriend, p. 65; July 22, 2002, review of Going Down for the Count, p. 162; July 21, 2003, review of Wearing Black to the White Party, p. 178; August 2, 2004, review of Biceps of Death, p. 55.
David Stukas Home Page, http://www.stukas.com (April 8, 2005).