Boy Toy by Michael Craft
(Mark Manning Series)

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Mark Manning gave up a career as a prominent journalist at a major daily newspaper in Chicago to take over as the owner and publisher of the Dumont Daily Register, the daily newspaper in a small Wisconsin town. Living there with his lover, architect Neil Waite, and his nephew and ward Thad Quatrain, Mark's life in Dumont is usually quiet.

At the moment, the biggest news is the forthcoming production of a new play by the local community theater group. Two local teenage boys are alternating in the lead role - one is Jason Thrush, a gregarious and somewhat egotistical athlete, and the other is Thad Quatrain. When Jason and Thad have a verbal clash during rehearsal, it is quickly forgotten by almost everyone involved. But when Jason turns up dead on opening night - leaving Thad to take over the lead role - the local gossip turns against Thad. Jason's death is soon proved to be murder and, even though he has not been charged, opinion about town has all but convicted Thad of the crime.

Sure that Thad is innocent, Mark, with the help of his lover and friends, is determined to publicly clear Thad's name. But that means finding out exactly what happened to Jason Thrush on that fatal day and Manning's investigation may place him and his loved ones in mortal danger.

About Michael Craft

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Michael Craft is the author of several novels, three of which were honored as national finalists for Lambda Literary Awards. Craft and his partner reside in Wisconsin, which is the setting for the Mark Manning novels. They have a second home in the Palm Springs area of California, which provides the backdrop for Craft's series featuring theater director Claire Gray.
Published June 13, 2001 by Minotaur Books. 272 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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It’s obvious from the beginning that Jason’s been the victim of poisonous mushrooms, but since there’s no trace of mushrooms in his stomach, the coroner orders an autopsy, whose delayed results leave Mark and Neil (Name Games, 2000, etc.) plenty of time to pick out motives for surviving relatives...

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Publishers Weekly

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In his fifth gay mystery (after 2000's Name Games) featuring Mark Manning, editor and publisher of the Dumont Daily Register, Craft does a better job than usual of portraying the people of Dumont, Wis., as real and sympathetic human beings.

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