X: A Novel (Paperback)

X: A Novel By Davey Davis Cover Image
available for order

July 2022 Indie Next List

“Dark, gay, hot, and exquisitely twisted — this is the gay lit I’ve been achingly ready for; lovingly authentic, lovingly grotesque, and utterly disinterested in being ‘good’ representation.”
— kyra rathmann, Letters Bookshop, Durham, NC


A thrilling portrait of political terror and the violent pleasures found in warehouses, bathrooms, and dungeons across New York City, X is a novel that delves into the psyches of characters on the margins

The world is ending, and down-and-out sadist Lee spends their days working for a big corporation and their nights wandering the streets of Brooklyn listening to true crime podcasts. But everything changes when Lee is dragged to a warehouse party by their best friend, where they find themself in the clutches of the seductive and bloodthirsty X. When Lee seeks her out again, she’s nowhere to be found.
Amid the steady constriction of civil rights and the purging of migrants and refugees, the U.S. government has recently begun encouraging the semi-voluntary “exporting” of undesirable citizens—the radicalized, the dissident, and the ungovernable. Word has it that X may be among those leaving. If Lee doesn’t track her down soon, she may be gone forever.

About the Author

Davey Davis's first book, the earthquake room, was released by TigerBee Press in 2017. They write a weekly newsletter and mutual aid fundraiser about art, culture, sexuality, and people named David at itsdavid.substack.com. They live in Brooklyn.

Praise For…

A Bustle Most Anticipated Book of the Month
An LGBTQ Reads Most Anticipated Book
The Millions, A Most Anticipated Book of the Year

"Davis is a remarkably self-assured author, and X is a dizzying, beautiful novel, and a fascinating look at a subculture that mainstream American art has frequently shied away from." —Michael Schaub, NPR

X is lyrical and nonlinear, with sentences that feel like carved obsidian: dark, sharp and shiny . . . the overall effect is masterly, a perfect mating of style and subject . . . X documents a dystopia that has only just arrived, suggesting that perhaps there was a moment when we could have taken a different path . . . [It] will leave you, in the same way it leaves its narrator, wondering: What are you ignoring? What can’t you admit to yourself? And is it already too late, or have you just given up?” —Hugh Ryan, The New York Times Book Review

"One of Davey's enormous talents is world-building through tightly wound, imaginative descriptions of characters, moods, and places . . . Delectably provocative, adventurous, urgent, dizzying, mouthwateringly kinky, queer, and not for the faint of heart, Davis has conjured an ashen gray world where the end is near, but sex remains hot and ready on the tongues of the surviving outcasts. But whether in the form of a bloody BDSM release while tied to a St. Andrew's Cross or a sex date at the novel's underground Fist club, hope beckons and snaps right around the corner like the quick of a whip." —Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter

"In this dystopian yet all-too-imaginable read, a new friend of Lee’s goes missing around a U.S.-led purge of migrants and refugees, resulting in a tale as sexy as it is alarming—and making it the perfect thing to read at Riis Beach all summer long." —Emma Specter, Vogue

"Davey Davis’s X is the real deal, lacerating the reader with its swagger, prose, and heat. It’s delicious; it’s so gay; it locates and names the state as easily as it locates and names desire . . . Buy this book." —Sarah Thankam Mathews, The Cut

"Anytime the jacket copy on a book promises to explore 'warehouses, bathrooms, and dungeons across New York City,' it has our attention. This noir-inflected dystopian thriller follows true-crime obsessive Lee as they move through those spaces and attempt to unravel a mystery involving the titular 'X.' Author Davey Davis has cited Sarah Schulman, Dennis Cooper, and James M. Cain as influences, suggesting X will be a wild ride into the unknown." —Thrillist

"An engrossing read that asks big questions about autonomy and freedom in every sense of those words." —Sarah Neilson, A Them Best Book of Summer

"Davey Davis’s X is an especially hot ticket this season." —Paul Gallant, Xtra

"Whether in their debut novel the earthquake room or in their consistently fascinating substack DAVID, Davey Davis is one of the sharpest chroniclers of contemporary queer culture. Their writing goes beyond discourse, excavating the complexities of topics our communities love to simplify. Their new book, X, is a noir based in a present much like our own. It’s as sticky, thought-provoking, and, simply, entertaining, as we’ve come to expect from Davey." —Drew Gregory, Autostraddle

"Thrilling, sexy, and electric . . . It’s the type of book that grabs you by the collar and won’t let you go until you finish. It's queer, dark, and mesmerizing." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"Davis’ enticing debut is a Winterson-reminiscent tale of love and lust on the margins, a bewitching mix of kink and dystopian thrills." —Michelle Hart, Electric Literature

"A sexy and dangerous ride." —Mikaella Clements, The White Review

"Davis delivers an astonishing speculative tale of sex, power, and gender . . . Vivid and witty, Davis’s prose hurtles between moments of beauty and darkness, often in the same breath . . . This one hits hard." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“Davis is an astounding writer, seemingly unconstrained by taboos and waist deep down in the maw of life, examining what the rest of us shy away from—never more than here in X, the rare book that can thrill and entertain, while simultaneously causing you to question everything about how you’re living.” —Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby

"Hardboiled style meets dyke drama in the clubs and play parties of queer Brooklyn. In an atmosphere of creeping fascism, Davey Davis gives us a fascinating protagonist. When not making a mess of their life or wasting it on true crime podcasts, Lee is an amateur sadist obsessed with finding the mysterious X, mistress of the craft to which they aspire. X is both a delight to read and a penetrating study on the intimacy of violence and the violence of intimacy." —McKenzie Wark, author of Reverse Cowgirl

"In X, Davey Davis presses down hard on all of our bruised places until we beg for more. In their taut, electric prose, Davis performs a skillful sleight of hand: keeping our eyes on the noirish tale of a pain slut's growing obsession, while just out of frame fascism slowly creeps into daily life. X will leave you wet, hard, and implicated." —Morgan M. Page, writer and host of One from the Vaults podcast
Product Details
ISBN: 9781646220939
ISBN-10: 1646220935
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: June 28th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English