The Distance Between Us
by A.C. Burch
HomePort Press

"Small town living is a commitment—not an entitlement."

This rollicking crime thriller, a sequel to Burch’s award-winning debut novel, The Homeport Journals, is also set in Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod. Helena Handbasket, a much-loved female impersonator, heads the local art museum but must go underground while sorting out an intricate murder plot and art theft conspiracy that touches many lives in the art-centered community. This literary-leaning novel is character and setting-driven rather than plot-driven, so readers can expect a slower delivery than is normal for the mystery genre. But in this case, page-turning speed is overrated, and Burch fans will revel in his extensive knowledge of Provincetown and the well-developed, rainbow cast of characters who carry the story forward with feisty humor and many unexpected plot twists. Though marketed as an LGBTQ novel, the tale’s pathos and heartfelt communal spirit will endear Helena, Butch (Helena's spouse), and Helena’s many friends and associates to mainstream readers as well.

Underlying the tale is the gentrification of Provincetown’s vibrant artistic community, a phenomenon that impacts scores of towns and cities across America. This struggle to find a balance between outsiders and locals is a thorny one. Tourists attracted to the lifestyle locals have built send real estate prices soaring when they settle in full-time or part-time, pushing all but the most prosperous locals from their birthplaces and diluting the original cultural ambiance. Readers will root for Helena and her crime-busting cadre of friends as they grapple with the sinister crimewave that envelops their bucolic town and deal with the influx of “washashores” whose hearts aren’t quite big enough to fully appreciate the Provincetown community. In many ways, the tale is a timely tribute to the resilient, connecting spirit of drag performance and a push against the current political storm of misunderstanding and hatred.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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