A delicious story from a new voice in suspense, Lev AC Rosen’s LAVENDER HOUSE is Knives Out with a queer historical twist.
by Lev AC Rosen
Forge Books,October 2022
(via the David Black Literary Agency)
Lavender House, 1952: the family seat of recently deceased matriarch Irene Lamontaine, head of the famous Lamontaine soap empire. Irene’s recipes for her signature scents are a well guarded secret―but it’s not the only one behind these gates. This estate offers a unique freedom, where none of the residents or staff hide who they are. But to keep their secret, they’ve needed to keep others out. And now they’re worried they’re keeping a murderer in. Irene’s widow hires Evander Mills to uncover the truth behind her mysterious death. Andy, recently fired from the San Francisco police after being caught in a raid on a gay bar, is happy to accept―his calendar is wide open. And his secret is the kind of secret the Lamontaines understand.
Andy had never imagined a world like Lavender House. He’s seduced by the safety and freedom found behind its gates, where a queer family lives honestly and openly. But that honesty doesn’t extend to everything, and he quickly finds himself a pawn in a family game of old money, subterfuge, and jealousy―and Irene’s death is only the beginning.
When your existence is a crime, everything you do is criminal, and the gates of Lavender House can’t lock out the real world forever. Running a soap empire can be a dirty business.
« Lev AC Rosen’s lushly rendered mystery sets the detective novel on its head. There’s the dishonored policeman sitting on a barstool in 1950’s San Francisco and the elegant woman who slides in next to him with a job. But this femme’s wife has been murdered, and the day-drinking cop has been brutally ousted from his job for being gay. Rosen’s smart, bittersweet tale plays with the oldest truth of all: the price we pay for our identity in America. » ―Walter Mosley
« LAVENDER HOUSE is a fabulous, genre-bending mystery-noir, told with wit, panache and style. Lev Rosen is one of a kind and just gets better and better―his eye for characters is both acerbic and compassionate, and his story-telling is top notch. » ―Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk
« Rosen’s deeply compelling and suspenseful historical mystery pulls readers into the 1950s with Detective Evander « Andy » Mills, who was just tossed off the force for being gay and is feeling just unmoored enough to pick up a gig investigating a maybe murder…. The mystery itself borders on cozy, and wrapping it in an exploration of WWII-adjacent queer life makes for the perfect autumn page-turner. » ―BuzzFeed
Lev AC Rosen writes books for people of all ages, including Camp, which was a best book of the year from Forbes, Elle, and The Today Show, among others, and is a Lambda finalist and ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. He lives in NYC with his husband and a very small cat.