Brooklyn, New York, 1878—it was an exceedingly dangerous time to be a gay man. In fact, for Theodore Cummings Brill and George Washington Cutler it was downright deadly. A crime that held all the earmarks of a double homicide was dismissed by the police as a murder/suicide when it was discovered that Teddy and Wash were so much more than simply dear friends. For more than a century, it was believed the men died as a result of a lovers’ quarrel, just punishment for their perversions according to the moral judgments of the time—but their tormented spirits have clung to the physical plane, languishing in a purgatory of history’s making, just waiting for their moment of truth to see the light and to set them free.
When Christopher Finnegan shows up at the now historic Brill House on a research mission for his boss, the last person he expected to meet with was his arch-nemesis Troy Rafferty, the home’s curator. Finn and Troy share a past layered, in turns, by competition, acrimony, and uncontrolled lust…always followed by anger and regret on Finn’s part. It’s a history that, for Finn, has constructed a wall, brick by contempt filled brick, between them, and has shaped his perception of their shared past, making Troy the scapegoat for Finn’s academic failures; not that Troy is entirely innocent, but he’s certainly not entirely to blame either. It’s been a decade and a half of antagonism and contention between the two men, but circumstances never cease to keep throwing them together. Now it seems more paranormal intervention than serendipity that has put them on a path toward reconciliation. The big question, however, is whether the feelings they have for each other are their own, or merely the ephemeral strains of the love Teddy and Wash felt for each other. When Troy and Finn begin digging into Wash and Teddy’s private journals, begin to piece together the circumstances of their deaths, it opens a hole between the physical and metaphysical realms, and becomes exceedingly clear that the ghosts of a long ago past will not allow Troy and Finn to rest until a name is given to their killer.
Across the East River Bridge is a seamless merging of the past and the present, of two distinctly different romances separated by more than a century, wrapped within a mystery that ties them all together in the present. The story is a careful unraveling of secrets and clues that push Troy and Finn in the direction of a future that can hold together only if they can find a killer who’s been dead for more than a hundred years, then come to trust that what they feel for each other is real. This is one of those books that not only entertained but also informed, which resulted in a really lovely read for me.
Kate McMurray is a GayRomLit participating author. You can check out Kate’s blog HERE.
Buy Across the East River Bridge HERE.