Publisher: Grove Press
An aging male hustler wages an obsessive battle against the passing of his youth in this darkly compelling follow-up to the cult hit City of Night. Johnny Rio, a handsome narcissist no longer a pretty boy, travels to Los Angeles, the site of past sexual conquest and remembered youthful radiance, in a frenzied attempt to recreate his younger self. Like a retired boxer—an undefeated champion—who refuses to accept the possible ravages of time, Johnny is led by some unfathomable force to return to combat once again. Combat, for him, takes place in the dark balconies and dismal bathrooms of LA’s all-night movie theaters and on the hot sands of the city’s gay beaches. But these are only warm up bouts. The real test, Johnny soon learns, will be in the shaded glens of a rambling park on the outskirts of the city. Through those alcoves, as a gallery of sexhunters emerges, he sets out to discover whether the passage of time—as terrifying to the male hustler as to the dancer or ingenue—has diminished the allure that was the source of his pride. For Johnny, the final proof resides in numbers. So he sets himself a rigorous time-table—ten days—and goal: thirty “numbers” to prove is mettle. But through all the sexual episodes, the self-indulgence which comprises Johnny’s tawdry world, there resounds the universal cry of a human being’s desperate need to be loved.