M. Christian is well-known for his erotic stories, as well as editing several erotic anthologies, so I wasn’t surprised to find that his newest novel, Finger’s Breadth, was pretty explicit. This is not a book to read if you are easily offended. Published by Zumaya Boundless, the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual-themed imprint of Zumaya Publications, which has been putting out both e-books and print since 2001.
Finger’s Breadth takes place in San Francisco in the near future—someone is drugging random gay men and cutting off the tip of their little finger. The gay bars in the area are almost empty; men are staying home, scared it might happen to them. The police are baffled; there are no suspects. The first victim, Varney, works for the newspaper and becomes a celebrity of sorts. But his celebrity isn’t exactly earned, and this is eating Varney up inside. He debates with himself whether to confess his sin while still using his infamy to reach out to the public.
Then a gradual change comes over the gay population—those who have been cut are looked at as desirable, exciting. Those who have not been cut now begin to feel left out, even ashamed—aren’t they good enough to be approached by the cutter? Are they unattractive? The bars fill up again; the patrons divided between victims and wanna-bes. It’s rarely said aloud, but those men who are whole are hoping to be the next victim. The internet burns with men in chatrooms, looking for the cutter or a reasonable facsimile. Although the story is seen through the eyes of several characters, quite a bit of the book is written in chatroom format, with the cutter—or supposed cutter—looking for victims.