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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and…

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York (udgave 2021)

af Elon Green (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
10415209,270 (3.64)6
Titel:Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York
Forfattere:Elon Green (Forfatter)
Info:Celadon Books (2021), 272 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:social sciences, social problems and services; associations, criminology

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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York af Elon Green


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Viser 1-5 af 14 (næste | vis alle)
It certainly is not another "In Cold Blood," but it is well researched and generally well written. The problem is that it is not a particularly compelling story. I had never heard of these killings even though I am gay and was living and working in New York City and environs, and with a summer home on the Jersey Shore. I had visited most of the New York gay venues mentioned in the book, except The Townhouse, prior to meeting my spouse in 1984. That probably explains my missing these horrible killings, and the dearth of newspaper coverage obviously contributed. Mr. Green did a remarkable job of investigating what happened, especially impressive since he is not LGBTQ. One of my objections was not Green's fault because he obviously made an effort to get editorial assistance, but it is apparently not available as it was 30 years ago. A couple of the more obvious editorial errors were "an episcopal house of worship" and "the Cardinal of Boston," but there were some subtle ones where the author included quotes that didn't quite sync with his commentary. ( )
  KimByham | Sep 27, 2021 |
During the period from the spring of 1991 to mid-summer in 1993, the dismembered bodies of four men were discovered outside of New York City. In each discovery the body parts were neatly double bagged in garbage cans at rest stops - one in Pennsylvania, two in New Jersey and one along the Hudson River in New York State. All four of the men were gay, and all four seemed to have been last seen alive in bars in Manhattan. They were the victims of a serial killer who gained the nickname of The Last Call Killer.

In Last Call author Elon Green tells the story of these men and their murderer, his eventual capture and his conviction. Much of the book is devoted to the stories of the lives of the victims. In order to tell their stories Green spent a couple of years on the road investigating. If not for his hard work, the lives of these men would likely have remained stories untold.

He does a great job with their stories. Born in the first half of the 20th century, these men grew up in a time when being gay meant you were a target of ridicule and more - subject to beatings, arrest, and the loss of your job if that fact became known.

By the time of the events in this book Stonewall and the Gay Liberation movement were already in the past. But the changes those events represented impacted the lives of these men unevenly. Two of the victims were married, living their gay lives on the down low. One turned tricks near Penn Station, and one was out and identifiably gay to all who knew him.

As good a job as Green does capturing each of these men's stories, he has captured the times equally as well. I worked in Manhattan for two years in the late 1980s and I recall the piano bars described in the book, both in the Village and in midtown, having visited a few myself. It was in specific bars - establishments that attracted older men looking to meet up with younger men, that the killer encountered his victims.

For as much investigation as Green did, what's missing from this book for me is more depth of storytelling on the impact of the Last Call Killer on the gay community in New York. A group called the Anti-Violence Project (AVP) acts in the book as somewhat of a stand-in for the broader gay community. The AVP was a group formed as a means of combating the gay bashing and violence then rampant in gay neighborhoods. The group worked with police on the Last Call Killer case as a liaison to the community in reporting tips, etc. Compared to the depth of the material in the rest of the book this part seemed pretty superficial to me.

As readers we all come to books with different expectations. I've read a few Amazon reviews from True Crime aficionados who I'm sure would disagree with the assessment in my last paragraph - they complain that all the "reportage" was distracting from the plot. I come at this book not as a True Crime, but rather as a window into this place and this time, a History in other words, and I wanted more of the context and detail others find distracting.

In the end I found Last Call to be a worthwhile read. It's a short book at 250-ish pages including Notes. Green's writing makes for easy reading. If you are interested in True Crime, stories of gay men in post-Stonewall New York, or just American life in the late 20th century, then there is something in this book for you. I rate Last Call Three Stars ⭐⭐⭐. ( )
  stevrbee | Sep 23, 2021 |
In the early 1990s, a number of gay men were picked up in Manhattan bars and murdered in horrific ways. All of these murders—and likely more—were committed by one man, whom the tabloids dubbed the Last Call Killer. Elon Green spends as much of the book talking about the lives of the known victims as he does on the investigation itself—and on the awful legal and police bungling which let the killer repeatedly evade justice until his eventual 2001 arrest and 2005 conviction.

Green's focus on the victims is admirable, particularly given the sensationalising tendencies of a lot of true crime, which will occasionally come close to lionising the killer. However, I'm not sure the book's internal structure entirely worked, and Green perhaps took himself out of the narrative a little too much. Yes, we should let marginalised people speak for themselves as much as possible—but given the relative paucity of the source material left behind by a number of the victims, and the many themes of the book which are sadly still relevant today, I think Green had the scope to draw more explicit conclusions than he did—to make his own call. ( )
  siriaeve | Aug 31, 2021 |
Okay right off the bat: I discovered through reading this book that true crime that involves murder is Not for Me. Green is fairly explicit in his description of the violence involved in these murders, which I assume is par for the course in the genre, and while I wouldn't call it disrespectful, I certainly didn't like it and it gave me nightmares for days.

Genre conventions aside, I thought this was a fairly careful examination of the lives especially of the victims, and of a specific bar scene in New York. The brief portion about queer Youngstown, in exploring the lives of the victims, was actually fascinating (I say as a queer person from Ohio...) and Green notes that he tried his hardest to have the voices of actual queer people as central to this at large. The story of queer organizing against violence seemed a little like a sidetrack in the middle of the story, and as a person who is opposed to hate crime legislation as a solution to violence based in bias, it seemed a fairly uncritical representation of queer people being involved with police (which, in a world where NYC Pride just banned cops in the parade, seems a little weird.) But again, I think genre conventions mean there's less room for a critical examination of policing.

So: not a bad book, and I think people interested in the genre will find this a very careful and well-done story. I just am Not the Audience. ( )
  aijmiller | May 18, 2021 |
In the mid-nineties, bodies were being discovered dumped in out of the way places outside of New York City. There were similarities in how they were dumped and all of the men were gay. At a time when AIDS was at its peak and homophobia rampant, the disappearance of a few gay men didn't make the news. Elon Green focuses on the stories of the victims and of the lives they led and the gay piano bars of midtown Manhattan where they met the murderer.

This is a well-written and researched work, where the emphasis stays on the lives of four ordinary gay men, whose life paths were very different. It's a snapshot into a time and a place not that long gone, done with respect and empathy. If this is the future of true crime writing, bring it on. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Apr 26, 2021 |
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