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Retro Reading: The Rape of Ganymede by John Peyton Cooke


Never have I been a fan of rollercoasters (and yes, I have been forced to go on them) but when it comes to reading, I'd let author John Peyton Cooke tell me a story anytime since he'll take you on a mental rollercoaster.

On a hot Friday night in June, Greg Quaintance is sitting in a chair at a Chelsea salon having his bald head shaved. As a newly "ordained" private investigator of eight months, he reflects on the past week of watching soap operas and not having any clients.

With money tight, he decides that he'd rather forget about everything and go clubbing while his stylist, Juan, tries to get him to go out with him. Greg tells him that he's not his type and takes a look at his beeper (it is 1998 afterall). Not familiar with the number, he ignores it until he gets back to his apartment where he has a message from power attorney David Loeb.

He calls him back and Loeb wants him to come to his office immediately since he has a job for him.

After changing his clothes, Greg goes to the office where he learns that Loeb's former investigator, Angelo Ferrante, has sold a story regarding superstar Jimmy Gilbert. Ferrante has hinted that Gilbert has been having an affair with fourteen year old Jason Blassingame and his mother, Callie wants in on some of the action.

After leaving Loeb's office, he meets with Callie and gets her side of the story and tells him that Jason is at their house in New Jersey with his father Troy. The Blassingame's home is between Gilberts and former President Ralph Reston.

As the night continues on, Greg goes to the house and meets Jason and Troy.

Troy seems to be more into his horses and Jason is aloof when it comes to his parents (and the fact that Callie has just filed for divorce from Troy asking an exuberant amount of cash).

When Troy and Greg go up to Jason's bedroom, Jason has disappeared and in his note he tells them that he's going to be leaving in the morning with Jimmy on his South American tour.

Greg goes over to the Gilbert house and no one has seen the teen.

After questioning everyone at the house, he stops at the guard shack and tries to get information out of the guard, Bert Ferrigno, but he tells him that he hasn't seen Jason since he's been on duty.

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As the night drags into the morning, Greg finds himself at the trendy nightclub, Rex, where he spots Jimmy's sister, Julianna. She has ridden the coattails of Jimmy's since they were young and while his popularity soared, hers stalled and the public isn't that interested in her.

When he leaves the club, he's attacked in the parking lot and then heads back to the gated community where he finds Ferrigno dead in the shack and over at the Gilbert house, he finds Callie floating in the pool.

While trying to rescue her, he's knocked unconscious and his attacked tries to keep him underwater by striking him in the head.

After waking up in the emergency room, he checks out clean and heads to the mall where he has to buy new clothes and on his way back to the taxi, he encounters a group of boys who taunt him. He frightens all but one away and while questioning the teen, he discovers that he knows Jason and the two of them had worked together on ad campaigns.

Derek is kind of mum about his career as Greg learns that he did some "side" modelling with world renowned photographer, Yuri Zeltin.

Greg heads back to New York where he opens up one can of worms after another, and soon the body count rises as fingers are pointed in all directions and none of the people that he's met over the last twenty four hours are what they seem to be.

As you get further into the book, it's one that you don't want to read too fast, since you have to savour each and every character. You'll shake your head over every plot twist and going back to what didn't seem like important points in the book.

Even though Cooke takes you on this rollercoaster ride, I know that this isn't for everyone. It fringes on child pornography and the great lengths that the rich and powerful have at covering their tracks, plus, Cooke starts taking you down one path and before you know it, you're on another.

There are a lot of characters and as I said, when you get to know them later in the book, you're head will spin and before you know it, you'll have ridden the coaster with Cooke.


Eric Tuchelske (author) from Detroit on July 28, 2021:

I highly recommend one of his other books, The Chimney Sweeper.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on July 28, 2021:

It sounds like something I would read. Thanks for the review. :)

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