Category Archives: LGBTQ+ fiction

Albert J Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

Albert J Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect ebook coverBlurb: Three young boys on a collision course: Albert Sterne – isolated, driven and fiercely intellectual; Fletcher Ash – bright, dedicated and with a strong sense of justice; John Garrett – hurt, marginalised and determined to do to the world exactly what the world has done to him. The eleven short stories in this companion volume continue and expand on the lives of the characters from the same author’s outstandingly popular The Definitive Albert J. Sterne, which should preferably be read first.

Genre: gay fiction; contemporary; drama; stories

Word count: 61,000

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

Awards: First in LadyM’s Top Books for 2012 in the Guest Reviewer’s Top Picks for 2012 on Reviews by Jessewave.

Available in ebook format from:

The stories in this volume have also been incorporated in the paperback edition of The Definitive Albert J. Sterne.

reviews: Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

Gosh! Albert’s companion volume has received some very flattering attention indeed! Thank you all for welcoming back the dear old curmudgeon.

Top 2 Bottom Reviews: 4 kisses from Jen

Conclusion: All in all, this book was magnificent and you’ll want to read more.

Reviews by Jessewave: 4.5 stars from LadyM

Conclusion: This collection of stories was certainly more emotional than the novel, since it revolves more around characters’ lives than the plot about a serial killer. It has been a while since I’ve enjoyed a writer’s style so much, unobtrusive and yet clearly capable of conveying Albert’s losses, Garrett’s hatred, Fletcher’s love. The stories added the facets of their private lives successfully deepening our overall understanding of their characters. If you read The Definitive Albert J. Sterne, this collection is a must read. If you didn’t, I wholeheartedly recommend both books to you. Both the novel and the stories are great addition to this genre and the complexity of the characters alone recommend them to anyone who enjoys reading.

Albert: FBPI at Goodreads:

Currently 31 ratings, 13 reviews and an average of 4.55 stars.

  • Aussie54 gave it 5 stars, and said: Reading about Fletcher and his family was a joy. … It was hard to put my eReader down! I couldn’t wait to see what happened with Fletcher and Albert (even re-reading the first Albert along with this second book was compelling …).
  • Silver Iris gave it 5 stars, and said: I’m not sure I can describe just how much I love Albert & Ash. These short stories that are snippets into their lives beyond the novel were fantastic. I want to see more into their future.

excerpt: Albert J Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

An excerpt from the story The Rending of Cloth (New York City, October 1952). The child Albert grieves for his murdered parents.

Microsoft Office clipartAlbert’s early childhood was mostly vague impressions. The love between his parents, and their love for Albert, was strong and constant and inviolate. But none of them were ever very demonstrative, there were never any displays of sentiment. The love was simply there as the foundation of everything they did, all the choices they made, the way they kept company only with each other, the scrupulous care taken to ensure that Albert had everything he needed to grow into everything he could be.

There were hazy moments he could remember. Albert, curled up in his father’s lap, listening to Rebecca’s calm voice tell the story of an old friend, long dead; Miles as rapt as the boy. The three of them being polite at some obscure relative’s after­noon tea, then mischievously sharing their boredom with each other through grimaces and raised eye­brows behind the woman’s back – they had gone home and read all evening, happy in their shared silence. Both of his parents a little giddy, someone having talked them into a fine restaurant on their twelfth wedding anniversary, dressing in their usual dull clothes – but Miles had bought Rebecca a silk scarf. The dark green of it picked out the reddish tint to her brown hair, which she left loose for once. Her eyes had glowed.

Late that night, she clutched the scarf in her dead hand and wouldn’t let it go.

Continue reading excerpt: Albert J Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Blurb: Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common. Yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against organized crime boss Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.

Genre: gay fiction; contemporary; organised crime thriller; novel; not a romance!

Word count: 51,900

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

Available in ebook and paperback formats from:

reviews: The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Note: Quoted reviews are all of the Manifold Press edition. The novel has been revised for publication by LIBRAtiger.

The Romanceaholic: 3 stars from a Romance Addict

Excerpt: This book quite literally sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. … The angst and tension caused by Carmine’s double crossing his boss/best friend was wonderful, and the courtroom drama a delight. The romance that was developing between Josh and Carmine was intense and angst-ridden due not only to the stress of the undercover operation, but because Josh … was struggling with embarrassment, confusion, shame, anger, lust, guilt, developing emotional feelings and fear for Carmine’s life.

MM Good Book Reviews: 3.5 stars from Pixie

Excerpt: This is a well written book that has a very good story-line and plot. Angelo is the guy that I fell in love with in this book. He just seems to live life to the fullest, embracing his love for Josh and just going with it … This book I will recommend to those who love cop/mobster love affairs, court room drama and gentle love.

Reviews by Jessewave: 3 stars from Cryselle

Excerpt: Give it to Cryssy: she’ll read anything. … There is one very interesting take on the sex. When they do arrive at the moment of attempting anal sex, Delaney isn’t thrilled down to his socks and yearns for it to be over, but he wants Trezini to be happy. Not sexy, but unique, and one of the few moments we see the relationship growing. … The ending is as tragic as the title promises, the last line the most moving in the entire work.

Top 2 Bottom Reviews: 3 kisses from Lisa

Excerpt: I really liked the premise for The Valley of the Shadow of Death. I love a good redemption story … There’s plenty of foreshadowing along the way to prepare the reader for the ending to this story, which was entirely plausible. The author didn’t pull out the eleventh hour ‘deus ex machina’ for the sake of a tidy finish, which I was grateful for.

Angelo at Goodreads:

  • Ingrid gave it 5 stars, and said: OMG She has done it again…. speechlesss
  • Sylvia gave it 4 stars, and said: I was about to give 3* until I read the last pages.
  • Kaje Harper said: This one is impossible for me to rate. Once again, I loved Julie Bozza’s writing voice, but it was a slightly awkward fit with this story. This had characters and development that should have been a bit gritty, given the plot. Instead it had a gentle, noir, early-twentieth feel, to the point where I kept getting startled when they pulled out cell phones. Delaney was wonderful, as a youthful, naive, optimistic, crusading cop – the writing style worked very well for him and his intrinsic, slightly simple goodness. For Carmine, the mobster turned informant, it was less effective.

Angelo on Amazon UK and Amazon US:

  • bill m gave it 4 stars, and said: this is a wonderfully written story, but it’s a tough read — astonishingly realistic. There’s a lot of stuff in this genre that’s contrived and artificial; this one isn’t like that. It’s tense, uplifting, gritty and sad. But it would be hard not to recommend it, and I do.
  • CatsAndChardonnay gave it 5 stars, and said: I am a fan, for certain, and this book doesn’t disappoint anyone who is a Julie Bozza fan. She has a way of writing that is very distinct and draws the reader in. Highly recommend.

excerpt: The Valley of the Shadow of Death

An excerpt from the first chapter of this novel. A cop and a mobster find themselves thrown together in a life-or-death situation.

Microsoft Office clipart - This could almost be Delaney!Angelo Trezini was slowing down, too cold and too dull to even think. Well, his only thought was a wistful wish for the energy necessary to feel sad or sorry or righteously pissed off. He was fading fast.

He was in a freezer. A large storage room of a freezer, packed high with cartons of food, and lit so brightly that Trezini was forced to squint. When his eyes were open, that is. Mostly he was just pacing in a circle, eyes shut tight against the harsh light and harsher cold, arms wrapped around his chest. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d walked this circle, but it was often enough that he didn’t have to look where he was going anymore.

A muffled clang, and the door swung open. It all happened so fast, and Trezini was feeling so slow that he didn’t have a chance to take advantage of the situation. As luck would have it, he was as far away as his circle took him – by the time he’d turned and drawn his gun, the door was already slamming shut again. And Trezini had company.

He was staring down his gun-barrel at a big dumb hunk of a man wearing a cop’s uniform. A man who was so ridiculously handsome that Trezini almost forgot the cold for a moment. There was a stillness about the man, a sense that he was completely self-contained.

Continue reading excerpt: The Valley of the Shadow of Death

The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

The Definitive Albert J Sterne ebook coverBlurb: Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he’s sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It’s only a matter of duty, though; it can’t be more, because Albert doesn’t do friendship – and he certainly doesn’t do love!

Genre: gay fiction; contemporary; serial killer thriller; novel

Word count: 171,000

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

Awards and recognition:

Available in ebook format from:

Available in paperback format from:

The paperback edition incorporates the original novel and the stories published separately in the ebook Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect.

reviews: The Definitive Albert J Sterne

Albert has received some great reviews, and attracted some interesting attention from the lovely people at Goodreads!

Rainbow Awards 2011: Runner Up in the Best LGBT Mystery / Thriller category

Judges’ comments: A very gripping thriller. At first I was a bit shocked that it has almost 700 pages but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. The part I enjoyed the most was the love story between the two main protagonists. All the characters have depth and are complex which made them very realistic. I found this book very fascinating and I will definitely read it again.

And: The book was a refreshing change from the usual “m/m-fare” and had a great mix of a real thriller and romance, although with a character like Albert I am not sure if romance is the right word… ;-) One problem I had was that I was missing some explanation for why Albert was the way he was.

My Fiction Nook: 5 stars from Rosa

Excerpts: … That’s what I love about Julie Bozza; each of her books is so different. She’s eclectic and it shows. … I think this is a love it or hate kind of book. It’s a bit dry in the beginning, but once you push though that and kind of go with the flow of the novel, it’s awesome and singularly different from other MM books. … I highly recommend it. I want to hug it. … (If you read and like this book, please read Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect, which is also fantastic.)

‘Charm: A Two-Edged Sword’: 5 stars from A.B. Gayle

A.B. Gayle says: This isn’t a romance, but it is a love story. Not romantic love but deeper, more meaningful love. And she also says a whole lot more in a fascinating analysis of what she sees as the main theme here: This book is about charm. The use of it. The abuse of it. The lack of it. The strength of it. Albert Sterne is not a charming man. He is impatient, abrupt, arrogant, irascible … Fletcher Ash, the only person who has managed to penetrate his defensive field, possesses charm in abundance. He gets on with everyone. … He likes people. On the surface, you’d assume that being charming is a good thing, yet one of the hardest hitting sections of the book involves a scene where Fletcher comes to realize that he’s been charmed by someone else.

Julie adds: You might never read the book, but I’m sure you’ll get something out of reading the review!

Reviews by Jessewave: 5 stars from LadyM

Excerpt and summary: Two complex and complicated men in search for a cunning serial killer. Excellent book for patient readers. … a terrific novel, ambitious in both its scope and complexity and it is a wonder that it wasn’t picked up by some mainstream publisher. … if you have patience and enjoy the challenge and complex characters and relationships, you will be rewarded by this gem of a novel. Highly recommended

Elisa’s reviews and ramblings: by Elisa Rolle

Excerpt and summary: … it’s not its length that will ‘disturb’ you, but the ability of the author to give deepness to every character, even the less important ones, like Ricardo, the hustler, or the more unlikely like the villain. … I’m not sure this book by Julie Bozza is good for everyone, the most squirming reader will probably want to avoid it. But if you want a very good psychological thriller, of the old fashioned type, I can fully recommend this one.

Dear Author: A- from Sirius

Conclusion: I recommend this book very highly, especially if you love snarky, complex heroes and if detailed descriptions of murder with torture do not scare you.

Saturday Recs: from Elin Gregory

Conclusion: This FBI based thriller abut the search for a vicious serial killer by an FBI agent assisted by the titular Albert, forensic genius and the most obnoxious man in the Bureau, is probably the most satisfying story I’ve read so far this year. Give it a go and I promise that the charming Fletcher Ash and the appalling Albert will stay in your mind and your heart for a long time.

Albert at goodreads:

Currently 160 ratings and 46 reviews, with an average of 4.15 stars.

  • Simsala gave it 5 stars, and said: Lightyears away from the standard m-m romance.
  • Indigo gave it 5 stars, and said: An unbelievably fascinating book. Clever, well-written, powerful characters, witty and enthralling. A must read.

Readers’ Responses

Jenre featured this as her Overall Book of the Year in her post on favourite male-male romance books read in 2013, and said: This is the second book by this author on my lists this year and well deserved it is too. It’s hard to believe that two years ago I started this book and stopped reading a third of the way through. This year I picked it up again and couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters of Albert and Fletcher and the way their relationship develops in slow increments which mirrors Fletcher’s investigation of a series of murders. The plot moves slowly but that was part of its beauty and by the end I felt like I had taken a worthwhile journey. In fact I was rather bereft when it was all over. Luckily the sequel/companion book was on hand to help with my withdrawal :). If you like mysteries/police procedurals and want to read about characters that aren’t easy to like but with whom you will fall in love, then I highly recommend this book. Don’t be put off by the length, it’s worth investing your time in every page.

excerpt: The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

An excerpt from the Prologue (New Orleans, October 1971) for this novel. Albert goes looking for sex.

Microsoft Office clipart“You looking to party?” the young man asked.

When Albert drew off his dark glasses, his com­panion politely followed suit, tucking his own into the back pocket of his jeans. Albert considered the figure before him, stepping to one side for the full effect of the late-setting sun’s illumination: male, of primarily Hispanic background; eighteen or perhaps nineteen, which was getting old to be on the game; one-seventy, an inch taller than Albert; light brown and dark brown. Further than that: undernourished, and had been for months if not years; clothes old and torn, though fairly clean and assembled with a harmony of color; eyes too bright; demeanor anxious, assessing. Some might have considered the haunted expression romantic, those who thought fey meant something more whimsical than the tragedy of ‘fated to die’. But Albert was instead drawn by the spark of intelligent curiosity.

“If party is a euphemism for having sex,” Albert said, “then, yes, I do want to. Frankly, I have no idea why else I’d be approaching you.”

Continue reading excerpt: The Definitive Albert J. Sterne