The christening of the world’s first skyscraper on the shores of the mighty Mississippi River is the backdrop for River Runs Red, Lambda Literary Award finalist Scott Alexander Hess’ new historical LGBTQ novel set in St. Louis, Missouri circa 1891.Calhoun McBride and Clement Cartwright are men from different worlds. Young Calhoun works backbreaking, midnight shifts at the Snopes Brewery…and earns a little extra selling his body to eager men. Clement (inspired by famed architect Louis Sullivan and the Wainwright building) left St. Louis to pursue his architectural ambitions, and now returns as the man planning the city’s big achievement. The two men are fatefully drawn to one another, but their secret affair is discovered by the city’s richest sociopath Belasco Snopes who sets out to ruin them. A finale courtroom scene set in the city’s Old Courthouse catapults the story to its blood curdling conclusion.Hess’s novel is “a cunning mix of lyricism and grit. A triumphant and beautifully-written historical novel.” – Joe Okonkwo, Jazz MoonWith a new interview with the author by Amy Dupcak.”Hess (Skyscraper, 2016, etc.) returns with a dark thriller set in late 19th-century St. Louis… lyrical, gritty read with a compelling young protagonist.” –Kirkus Reviews“Triumph…Set in the summer of 1891, this captivating novel, complete with tasteful homoerotic themes, is immersive and tactile. The sweat lingers from the stifling heat, you smell the lush gardens and you feel the mud of the Mississippi between your toes.” – Chris Andoe, Riverfront Times“River Runs Red is a cunning mix of lyricism and grit. A triumphant and beautifully-written historical novel.” Joe Okonkwo, Jazz Moon“Hess has written another gritty, steamy (in all senses of the word), and atmospheric historical novel. He travels effortlessly from high society parlors to the shacks of the river drabs..It may be a short novel, but it packs a punch, like a river rat boxer. And like the Mississippi, the short chapters of River Runs Red lap at your ankles, but before you know it, the riptide of the story has drawn you in, and then there’s no way to resist the current of this narrative.” – Out In Print
Scott Alexander Hess earned his MFA in creative writing from The New School. He blogs for The Huffington Post and his writing has appeared in Genre Magazine, The Fix, and elsewhere. Hess co-wrote Tom in America, an award winning short film starring Sally Kirkland and Burt Young. His novel The Butcher’s Sons was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015 and his novel Skyscraper was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hess now lives in Manhattan, New York with his husband. He teaches fiction writing at Gotham Writers in New York City.