Luke Tanner’s Lexington KY
The Case of the Missing Drag Queen is the first story I’ve written that takes place in Lexington, KY. The thoroughbred horse farms that nearly surround the city set it apart from other places. Ocala FL be damned. Everybody knows Lexington is the Horse Capital of the World.
I love Lexington. My family has been in Central Kentucky since shortly after Daniel Boone came through Cumberland Gap in 1775. My departure in 1997 was supposed to be temporary, but I never moved back. Twenty years in the Deep South has left me unwilling to travel north between late September and the middle of May.
Our hero Luke Tanner has returned to Lexington after five years in Atlanta. It’s October 1982. Cordless landlines are high tech. MTV is a year old and plays music videos around the clock. Hooking up was called tricking, which was usually facilitated by alcohol consumed at the local gay bar rather than an app.
Luke tends bar in the Gilded Lily — part of a big gay bar known as the Garden where drag queens perform three nights a week. The Lavender Rose lounge, the Red Poppy women’s bar, and Green Carnation disco make the Garden the center of the universe for gay men and women living in Central Kentucky.
The Sinclair Arms is an eight-unit apartment building he manages for half off his rent. It’s inspired by a place off Waller Avenue where I once lived, but is ambiguously located within walking distance of Good Samaritan Hospital.
The Brougham House is the toniest restaurant in town and a popular hangout for the area’s rich and famous. Luke’s Aunt Callie treats him to dinner there for his birthday. Later, Luke and Pixie Wilder — one of the performers — return to the upscale eatery as part of their investigation, but prefer Polly Jo’s — a semi-seedy all-night eatery famous for Polly Jo burgers.
No story set in Lexington would be complete without a horse farm. Berger Place features black-washed board fences and stone barns topped with black roofs. Owners Tippy and Amber Berger host an elaborate party the week before the Kentucky Derby to mark the close of the spring meet at Keeneland.
Humorous moments are part of my brand. Most arise from a character’s words or actions. Some are inside jokes understood by only a few close friends. The people and places in my story are fictional. Any resemblance to reality is solely the reader’s imagination.