Jim has been in love with his best friend Tony since they met in college in 1970, but over the years he has learned to love Tony's wife Rachel, too. In the summer of 1993, Tony invites Jim to join him and Rachel for two weeks at Rehoboth Beach and seeks his support in a marital crisis. Their gay/straight friendship and love triangle becomes a rectangle when they meet Joe, a sexy visitor from the West Coast. Friendships old and new, notions of jealousy vs. trust in relationships, definitions of family, and the challenges of gay romance during the AIDS epidemic are negotiated on the parallel beaches of gay and straight Rehoboth.
"No evil stepmothers, no scheming sorcerers, John McLucas has written a romance, but one that is pure sweetness (even the queenie backbiting is benign). In his (mostly) gay world nearly everyone is beautiful, polite, and happily disposed. That doesn't mean it's without its complications. Our hero, Jim, has maintained a chaste love for his straight college friend, Tony, for nearly twenty years. When Tony and his wife, Rachel, rent a house in Rehoboth, they invite Jim to join them. Those loyalties become more knotted when Jim meets Joe, an actor/model from LA, and all four are forced to make elaborate recalibrations of their attachments. McLucas has an ear for the subtle gradations of language and of gay life. He can calculate to the penny what a smile can cost and how quickly it can be spent. He also knows how an account of honest friendship can deliver life-long dividends." --David Bergman, editor of Men on Men
"Jim is an engaging narrator a reader can't help but fall for. From the moment he packed his bags for the trip, I was delighted to cleave to him for the entire two weeks at the beach. I fell for his delicious descriptions, his incisive but compassionate takes on human foibles, his openness about his own desire. I followed him straight into a shining liminal place where suddenly--like the line on Poodle Beach that separates 'the gay boys and girls' from 'the Great American families'--all divisions wavered and disappeared. A heart aches to stand on the threshold of such knowing, but so it goes with all good stories about love." --Madeleine Mysko, author of Bringing Vincent Home and Stone Harbor Bound
Dr. John McLucas has taught Italian and Latin at Towson U. since 1984. He has taught Italian language and repertory to voice students at Peabody Conservatory he is a classically trained singer himself. Dr. McLucas has published numerous scholarly articles and translations as well as poetry and short fiction. Dialogues on the Beach is his first novel.