The Duplex

Can They Fool A Whole City?

Fiction - LGBTQ
320 Pages
Reviewed on 04/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lucky Stevens lives, works and plays in exotic North America. He has written three novels. He was also a finalist in a nationwide screenplay writing contest. He was inspired to write The Duplex because he wanted to tackle a subject that grappled with universal themes in a creative and exciting way.

Released not long ago, The Duplex recently made Amazon's Bestsellers List in the LGBT Historical Fiction category--peaking at #5 (so far ;) (See Below)

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Duplex is a work of interpersonal drama and LGBTQ+ fiction penned by author Lucky Stevens. Set in the recent past in the glamorous world of Los Angeles in the 1950s, we find our main protagonist Cliff leading a not so perfect life. Being gay is still an offense, and he and his partner Jerry are always only one step ahead of the law. So when they meet Barbara and Dot, the foursome devise a plan to appear normal to the outside world but live in freedom. What results is an even bigger predicament than any of them could have foreseen, with some valuable lessons about the cost of fitting in.

Author Lucky Stevens has created a diverse, modern and highly engaging drama that bears all the golden hallmarks of fifties nostalgia at the same time. I loved the atmospheric touches of the time and place, including descriptions of settings and the way of life back then. This made for an immersive reading experience, as though I was living with the characters and up close to their trials and tribulations. The themes teeter between serious and amusing really well, maintaining the realism of the emotional drama, but with some really funny goings-on as they try to keep everything secret. As the plot progresses and the characters deepen, the story turns into something really heartfelt and special. Overall, I would definitely recommend The Duplex to all readers who love a good romantic and interpersonal drama, and especially those looking for diverse tales set in the recent past.

Ankita Shukla

The year was 1954, and for a homosexual person, life in L.A. was hard. On the one hand, there were many homosexuals in the city, but on the other hand, the cops and society were making their lives a living hell. They were "living in fear of their whole lives being upended, job-wise, reputation-wise, apartment-wise." During these horrendous times, Jerry fell in love with Cliff, and Barbara was smitten with Dorothy (aka Dot). A violent encounter with an undercover cop introduced Barbara to Cliff. They made an instant connection, and soon the four of them were hanging out together. However, sick of hiding behind "lavender dating," Jerry came up with a plan that just might be the answer to their problems. Indeed, it was a brilliant plan, but would they be able to beat mainstream society at its own game?

The Duplex: Can They Fool A Whole City? by Lucky Stevens is a gut-wrenching insight into those days when the biggest crime anyone could commit was to be themselves. Although the plot of The Duplex is based on an extremely sensitive topic, the story remains, for the most part, upbeat. Cliff has had very close encounters with the law, and yet he was as carefree as the wind. To the contrary, his partner, Jerry, lived with the burden of never-ending worries. The witty banter of Cliff and Barbara is delightful. As these fun-loving, sympathetic romantic characters try to fight the system without actually fighting, the audience observes the pain and longing they struggle with on a daily basis. It appeared that society and the law conspired to cast out a set of people based on the color of their skin, their beliefs, the way they dressed, and their sexuality -- to name a few. The Duplex by Lucky Stevens is a mirror that reflects the true face of society, the inner conflicts, and sentiments of homosexuals, and offers thought-provoking debates on fascinating subjects.

Asher Syed

The Duplex: Can They Fool A Whole City? by Lucky Stevens is a historical LGBTQ fiction tale that revolves around two couples in 1950s Los Angeles, California. The book begins with the entrapment of protagonist Cliff Lonigan in the bathroom stall of a bar he frequents, in a day and age when homosexuality was illegal and the punishments were severe. On his retreat, he is able to secure another female patron as his date, Barbara Penczecho, and temporarily evade the law. As the story progresses, Dorothy “Dot” Johnson and Jerry Ripley are introduced and slowly, the four become a tight-knit group with a plan that might allow them to live freely, if only they can pull it off.

The Duplex is a well-written book that does an excellent job of portraying the disparity of freedom and the dangers of being exposed as gay in a city that, by today's standards, was considered a liberal safe haven. Lucky Stevens is able to give readers greater insight and an engrossing experience with a first-person narrative of each of the four characters, who are fully developed and feel genuine and authentic. There is a simplicity to the writing style that balances nicely with the complexity and underlying thread of tension the characters have in a plot that is able to deliver suspense and empathy in equal doses. I enjoyed this book, its historical aspects, and the portrayal of two couples who want nothing more than to have the ability to live their lives in peace.

Rabia Tanveer

The Duplex: Can They Fool a Whole City? by Lucky Stevens is the story of love and what you are willing to pay for it. Love is a beautiful thing, but some people don’t understand that. Being gay in the fifties is not the best time for it, but love is love. Cliff and Jerry try their best to go undetected and evade the law, but it is becoming very difficult. But living in fear of losing their jobs or being evicted from their home is not good for them. However, that changes when they meet Barbara and her girlfriend Dot, and together with them, they devise a plan. Barbara is smart and comes up with a plan that will allow the four of them to live openly in their own home and remain undetected. But it is not easy to remain invisible, especially when you are living in LA.

The Duplex is such a perfect, entertaining and exceptional novel. The author’s sense of humor and charming wit took my reading experience to another level. Cliff and Barbara are two very smart lead characters; they led the story from the front and made sure that Dot and Jerry were protected. Although the story is set in the fifties, our lives are pretty much the same. We still try to hide from the prying eyes of society. The author keeps the narrative light, even when talking about some very disturbingly accurate things. Lucky Stevens normalized things like it should be; he allowed the characters to feel normal even when they were ostracized by their peers. This is such a cool and fun way of bringing some very dark and trying times to light. I loved the pace, I loved these characters and I hope it gets made into a movie because that will be awesome.