Never mind the little literary feuds, the caustic criticism collected in his book Hatchet Jobs, the hybrid memoir with fictional elements, even the children’s book series about a house that drifts out to sea. The two essential things you need to know about the brilliant, gay, New York novelist Dale Peck are his first novel Martin and John and his third, Now It's Time to Say Goodbye. The most exacting, often most eviscerating book critic in America, Michiko Kakutani of the NYT, wrote:
"On its simplest level, Martin and John Dale Peck's astonishing first novel, recounts the story of a young man's flight from his abusive, homophobic father and his later efforts to come to terms with his lover's death from AIDS. But if this fiercely written novel offers an indelible portrait of gay life during the plague years, it also opens out to become a universal story about love and loss and the redemptive powers of fiction. It is a story about the cycles of pain and grief that spiral through people's lives, and the efforts an artist makes to reorder and transcend that hurt."
"Dale Peck's harrowing new novel, Now It's Time to Say Goodbye, is that rare thing: an utterly gripping thriller—crammed full of suspense, Gothic horror and often startling violence—and a highly sophisticated piece of literary legerdemain. This dark, ferocious book reads like Twin Peaks and Pulp Fiction combined with Days of Heaven and To Kill a Mockingbird, with some bits of Faulkner, Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor thrown in for good measure. It also stands as a thoroughly original and persuasive work of art, this immensely talented young writer's most ambitious novel yet.
"Mr. Peck has more than fulfilled the promise of his first two novels: he has taken on the same big themes Toni Morrison tried with less success to address in Paradise -- another novel depicting the racial and sexual tensions in a small, hermetic town -- and delivered a novel commensurate with his ambitions. He has given us a big, galvanic novel, a novel that stands as the capstone, thus far, of his impressive career."
Last year Peck published Sprout, a much loved YA novel about a hyper-articulate gay teen with green hair, that won a Lambda Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Stonewall Book Award. Early next month is the release of Shift, the first of his GAT3 of ORPH3US trilogy co-authored the Heroes creator Tim Kring. The 3 novels "run from the 1960s to the near future. The protagonist is a man named Chandler Forrest whose participation in LSD experiments administered by the C.I.A. has given him superpowers," according the the New York Observer. The initial volume has much to do with the JFK assassination. Expect much publicity. Peck's long sleeping website finally woke up.