Cruising (novel)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Cruising is a novel written by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker and published in 1970.

The novel is about an undercover policeman looking for a homosexual serial killer in the gay New York City of 1970 before S/M and leather subcultures became well known (they existed but not to the extent they were portrayed in the film).

The murder victims were closeted or relatively open (as open as they could be at the time) men who came across the killer while "cruising" for sex.

While working undercover the policeman develops feelings for his gay neighbor.

The novel focuses on 3 main characters, the killer, Stuart Richards, the undercover policeman, John Lynch, and the policeman, Captain Edelson, who assigns the undercover role to Lynch. Each chapter (20 in total) focuses on one of the character's thoughts. We read Lynch's feelings about various minority groups, including gay men. We also read about his feelings related to working undercover and how his life is changing as the job progresses. We read much about Richard's various heterosexual exploits, his rocky relationship with his father and many more memories of his life, both past and current, and we read about Edelson's thoughts on the case and how he hopes it will garner him a promotion if he solves it.

The novel was adapted as the 1980 film, also called Cruising. There were substantial changes to the plot of the film, such as moving the killer into the world of sadomasochism and leather gay bars in Greenwich Village, New York. The movie also includes the policeman Steve Burns (his name was changed from John Lynch) having an active sexual relationship with his girlfriend, Nancy, (played by Karen Allen). Neither of these facets are part of the plot of the novel. The film Cruising starred Al Pacino and was directed by William Friedkin.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cruising (novel)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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