‘Nathan Burgoine’s Light Shines Brightly
When I saw the blurb for thus up at Netgalley, I simply had to read it. It had one of those teasing tones that just led me right on down the path to “Gotta gotta gotta.”
“Kieran Quinn is a bit telepathic, a little psychokinetic, and very gay—three things that have gotten him through life perfectly well so far—but when self-styled prophet Wyatt Jackson arrives during Pride Week, things take a violent turn.
Kieran’s powers are somewhat underwhelming but do have a habit of refracting light into spectacular rainbows for him to hide behind. Even so, it’s not long before Kieran is struggling to maintain his own anonymity while battling wits with a handsome cop, getting some flirting in with a hunky leather man, saving some drag queens, and escaping the worst blind date in history. It’s enough to make a fledgling hero want to give up before he even begins.
One thing’s for sure: saving the day has never been so fabulous.”
See what I mean? It promises a LOT of candy, but whether it would deliver, and if it did, if it was going to be fuzzy glued together hard candies or rich, smooth chocolate with lots of yummy fruit and nuts inside was another matter. now, usually when a book grabs me and manages to suck me right in, that’s it. i forget everything else and just read until several hours later when I look up and find that my daughter has given me a sandwich which I apparently have eaten, a cup of coffee or tea half drank, and lots of missing time that could only be attributed to having read an entire book all at once. Now, i’m going to be honest here and admit that I took 2 days to read this. BUT, and this a big but, it’s not because it was not attention engaging, because it was. it was good enough that I sat to read it one evening and my other half had to take it away from me in order to make me watch the TV show he decided I HAD to see with him and then it wa bedtime, and after having helped him tile bathroom walls all day, I was too tired to read before lights out.
The next day I was needed every five minutes as he continued tiling and what not. Then I got to sit down and as he hadn’t recorded any TV shows and nothing else he wanted to watch with me was on, i got to read. And so I did, right up to the finish. Ha! So there! I got my walls tiled AND got to read my book, which was the perfect antidote to the stresses of living in a building zone with remodeling supplies taking up every inch of space in the house and an unfinished bathroom whose project end was stretching further and further into the future while MR DIY was getting more and more frustrated with how the walls leaned and were horrifically out of square and GRRRRRRRRRR he needed to compensate while tiling, and man he needed another cup of tea , damn it!
‘Nathan Burgoine’s lead character, Kieran, is first introduced to us when he is 10 ears old. Two things happen to traumatise him at that point in his life. firstly, his mother begins dying of cancer. Secondly, he and his mother are sharing a moment together while watching TV in her hospital room, watching a special news event showcasing the first telekinetic person to reveal themselves publicly demonstrating his abilities. Sadly, it ends in bloodshed and at the moment of the man’s televised murder, he hears someone scream, “HIDE” deep into his mind and he passes out. He awakes much later only to soon discover that he seems to have the abilities of telekinesis and telepathy himself, and both the murder and the voice in his head set the tone for how his life plays out in regards to his gifts.
Until years later, of course, when the whole homophobic charasmatic preacher and his picketing church thing occurs. Now poor kieran is stuck trying to figure out how the man is hurting people, trying to find Mr. Right on his own despite a blind date arranging best friend and co-worker, and his light bending thing being seen in public while people vote on what to call the mystery man hidden behind the rainbows. Rainbow man? Disco? Mix in a determined cop bent on stopping more mayhem, a hot leather Daddy, horrific first date encounters, a lovelorn brother, father-son relationship strain, and a large dog who just wants to really, really, play with his new friend, all set against the backdrop of Pride week vents, and you get the recipe for a deliciously funny but well plotted tour de force of one man’s life coming apart at the seams.
Kieran is a really likable fellow, and he likes to think he knows what’s going on, but as events play out and he has to stop and mentally ask himself, “What?”, it’s pretty obvious that he’s pretty clueless at times. Okay, he’s gay and many of us are not, and yes, it’s a large part of who he is, but it’s not all of who he is. Strip that away and you see an everyman sort of character that is full of as many foibles and insecurities as the rest of us, and trying to make sense of the chaos that is life while dealing with people’s thoughts hammering at him and being able to move small objects around, mostly for the amusement of his cat. It makes him readily identifiable on a personal to us readers at large, and while that helped me keep my disbelief suspended as the story ran pell mell at full steam ahead, it also goes one step further. It very much puts the face of what we see as a “normal, ordinary human being” and not only gives him super powers, but makes the reader see past the sexuality. This, despite the whole dating and leather daddy thing. And this is perhaps is the greatest achievement that Burgoine has accomplished with this story- he makes the reader see Kieran the individual rather than the just “unholy faggot” being railed against. It reaches somewhere deep inside so that while giggling internally at turns, the reader is seamlessly and painlessly being further drawn into the message of acceptance and tolerance. Interestingly, while kieran himself is admittedly out and proud in regards to his sexuality, it’s not until he comes clean to himself about his gifts and reaches out for acceptance that his own efforts for getting himself Mr Right come to any fruition and hubba hubba, what a Mr Right it is indeed).
Rating: 4 1/2 handmade rich chocolate bars with rum, macadamia nuts, and raisins
Kink level: One fluffy lop-eared bunny and a wee baby chinchilla