LAW & CRIME

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

Celadon: Macmillan. Mar. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781250224354. $27. CRIME
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Opening with the discovery of the mutilated body of a Philadelphia gay man, journalist Green’s work devoted to the victims of the Last Call Killer appears at first to be another lurid account of homicide. However, the author treats the victims, gay men murdered in the early 1990s, who were picked up at gay bars in New York City, with respect, describing how they shared an identity that left them vulnerable not only to a sadistic criminal but also to indifference and sometimes open hostility from those charged with solving their murders. These crimes have been covered before, but Green sets his work apart by offering nuanced portraits of the victims and exploring how they navigated lives that led them to the bars that might have seemed like safe spaces but turned out to be anything but. The author examines the shortcomings of the justice system and how a group of queer Chelsea residents formed an antiviolence group, pushing elected officials and the police to take the crimes seriously. Reflecting both its author’s compassion and journalistic chops, this gripping narrative also focuses on forensic innovation and jurisdictional intrigue.
VERDICT A stellar tale of justice eluded, to add to the growing queer true crime genre justice.

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