The best gay themed books not about romance

Kevin Klehr Author Of Winter Masquerade
By Kevin Klehr

Who am I?

I usually write queer fiction with an urban fantasy or magic realism bent, although I’ve dabbled in dystopian novels and a couple of romance novellas. I have an interest in bringing to light modern queer works that aren’t rooted in erotica or romance because I know firsthand the misconceptions that are placed on writers of gay fiction. And too often I’ve had to find tactful ways to explain what I write when people assume I’m limited by genre.


I wrote...

Winter Masquerade

By Kevin Klehr,

Book cover of Winter Masquerade

What is my book about?

Winter Masquerade is a novella where Ferris finds a safe haven, away from his abusive partner. He wakes aboard an enchanted ocean liner where the eccentric inhabitants are gearing up for a masquerade ball. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.

The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea with scones and jam. Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.

The books I picked & why

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London Triptych

By Jonathan Kemp,

Book cover of London Triptych

Why this book?

This novel weaves three unique stories told by three very distinctive gay men who live in London at completely different periods of time. What unites them? Internalised homophobia, something as a gay person I remember from a long time ago. Each character yearns for someone. Each in a distinct way. Rent boy, Jack, longs for his regular client, Oscar Wilde. Lonely artist Colin desires the model he paints while staying closeted in the 1950s. And David’s desire lands him in prison in the 1980s.

Each story travels at the same pace with each character reflecting similar highs and lows. And you don’t have to be gay to identify with this well-written novel.


Blue Heaven

By Joe Keenan,

Book cover of Blue Heaven

Why this book?

This is the first of a trilogy of which any book in the series is worth reading. In this farce written long before marriage equality, a gay man hatches an outlandish scheme to throw a wedding, just for the expensive gifts. What follows is a comedy that incorporates blackmail and the mafia. You read this novel for pure pleasure, enjoying the clever one-liners while the plot spirals out of control. Flamboyant, camp, and ridiculously funny.


Puppet Boy

By Christian Baines,

Book cover of Puppet Boy

Why this book?

This is deliciously dark. It’s a tale about Eric, a twisted teenager who has tied up a home invader and is keeping him downstairs while his mother has left him alone. She’s busy trying to seek fame overseas. Eric keeps his teachers and his classmates unsettled while paying his daily expenses by entertaining older clients in Sydney’s richer suburbs. There is nothing charming about this story, yet its cast of disturbing eccentric characters makes this a real page turner.


The Moth and Moon

By Glenn Quigley,

Book cover of The Moth and Moon

Why this book?

To be fair, there is a love story featured in this novel, but it’s not at the heart of this tale. This is a historical piece full of captivating characterisation. Robin is a burly man who’s clumsy and unpopular in the small coastal town he lives in. But a horrendous storm is brewing, and Robin takes it upon himself to gather the townsfolk and get them to shelter at The Moth and Moon, the local pub. The world building is excellent. All characters are well realised. Most are eccentric. None are forgettable. And these elements make this tale truly charming.


Wave Goodbye to Charlie

By Eric Arvin,

Book cover of Wave Goodbye to Charlie

Why this book?

Charlie is homeless and lives in an abandoned carnival, just one of the places full of wonder and mystery in this novel. He is sometimes fed by a mature-aged gay couple and has an unrequited love. But he dies and we continue reading his story in a surreal version of the world he inhabited while alive. Yes, Charlie is a ghost. The carnival he still lives in has a life of its own, and he needs to protect the living who showed him kindness. A truly beautiful tale.


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