BISEXUAL STUD “GOES” THAI
(full-August blog (out-of-the-box book)
(2nd book of the Stud Draqual Mystery Series)
by William Maltese
“Whoever slit Rhee Dulouk’s throat should never have let the victim, second mouth still bubbling blood, reach Jeff Billing. Billing would have gone in another day … or two … or three. As he’d left the Philippines, Borneo, Bali. As he’d left Australia, Cambodia, Burma. As he’d left Spain, France, Germany.
“For Billing, Thailand was just another stopover on the way to … he never knew where … just somewhere.
“Rhee Dulouk wasn’t a particularly good lay. He wasn’t even Billing’s type. He was just another wham-bam-thank-you-man someone. One of many. A diversion. An exotic. Another notch on Billing’s belt. One more fuck in Billing’s ongoing fuck of the world. A keeper, beyond the first fuck, only because of a bit of pillow-talk that interested Billing, who knew a little something about Far-East antiquities. But not likely to keep Billing’s interest for long.
“Therefore, Rhee Dulouk dead on someone else’s doorstep would have been one thing. After all, there had been plenty of other bodies in Billing’s life … in the deserts of the Gulf, in the mountains of Iraq, in the back alleys of Afghanistan. Bodies left behind. Throwaways. Job-product.
“Rhee Dulouk dead on Billing’s doorstep, though … somehow … made the death personal. Not only to Billing but to me.
“Though I sure as hell didn’t know it at the time.”
Thus begins the second book, written in first person, of my Stud Draqual Mystery Series with its sexually ambiguous protagonist who can’t really decide whether he prefers women or men or both. This time he’s in Thailand for business, looking for silk. Even though he owns his own silk-producing company, its limited output of very expensive and very unique product doesn’t provide nearly enough textile to satisfy the ravenous demands of the very wealthy clientele who purchases the clothing from his haute-couture fashion house that specializes in women’s lingerie.
This time, Stud is sexually courted by a black-ops agent, Jeff Billing, who sees Stud as the possible key to solving not only the mystery behind the murder of a Thai callboy but insight into the intricacies of a major smuggling operation involving Oriental artifacts.
This time, as in A SLIP TO DIE FOR, the first book of the Stud Draqual Series, Stud is not only faced with the decision of whether or not to succumb to the advances of a hot male out to bed him, but has to decide whether or not he actually wants to father the child of a long-time female friend in the Thai silk industry. Also, even more so than in A SLIP TO DIE FOR, Stud finds himself involved with people within the transgender community.
It was very easy for me to slip transgendered characters into the context of this particular book, because I was in Thailand at the time I was writing it, daily confronted by its he/she transgender community that actively thrives as part of that Oriental culture.
“There was a quick rap on the door, and the door opened. A woman—not the one so recently left—glided in. She had a long and lean model’s body. Her fashionably open-toe shoes had medium-heels. Her long legs were encased within a pair of pale beige hose. Her stylishly plain-black silk slip-dress, with its spaghetti straps, masqueraded as Draqualian, but its silk was less expensive and less-luminescent and was as fake as the Gucci, Armani, and Versace stockpiled within the clutter of the roadside stalls outside. The woman’s breasts weren’t large, but any larger would have looked far less stylish in the dress she wore. Her neck, long and slender, was jewelry-free, as were her arms and fingers. Her face had the right amount of understated makeup: a pale foundation, a touch of blush to accentuate her cheekbones, a minimum of eyeliner and eye-shadow, a veneer of lips gloss to …
“Jesus!” I couldn’t help myself. My surprise was spontaneous and genuine. “Ram?”As an author who has, over the years, had a hard time convincing publishers that there is such a thing as a bisexual, as well as a viable market for books that include them and the transgender community as prime players, this out-of-the-box book of mine was surprisingly easy to get into publication; even though I’d surrendered, by that time, as too much bother, my imprint (Lambert III Library) for Brit publishing powerhouse Prowler Books, which I’d used shamelessly to sneak book one of the series, A SLIP TO DIE FOR, into the marketplace. The fact that I ended up with eager offers to publish the Stud Draqual THAI DIED sequel from several publishers, interestingly all mainstream, probably has to do with the first book of the series having been such a success in the mainstream market, as well as it having been picked up by mainstream German publisher, Rotbuch Krimi, along with rave reviews for that German-language edition, DESSOUS ZUM STERBEN.
For whatever the reason, straight readers remain far more accepting of bisexuality and transgender characters than do gay publishers and gay readers; although, I do give major kudos to Laura Baumbach of MLR Press for having not only provided a THAI DIED ebook for her publishing house’s mainly gay readership, but for having allowed me, on more than one occasion, in the past, to publish, through her company, some of my books even more out-of-the-box than this one. Hopefully, some day, we’ll have more publishers of gay literature as open as Laura to widening the gay genre beyond what’s the norm today.