Book review: Light, by ‘Nathan Burgoine

Burgoine LightBurgoine, ‘Nathan. Light. Bold Strokes. 2013. $16.95. 264p. PB. 9781602829534.

Massage therapist Kieran Quinn’s vacation is not working out for him. Because he loves Pride, Kieren usually spends a week off attending all of the festivities in Ottawa, but this year the arrival of Stigmatic Jack, a religious fundamentalist who mysteriously has stigmatic wounds appear while he is speaking, disturbs the event. As people are hurt by psychic daggers during Jack’s protests at the opening of Ottawa Pride, it falls to Kieran to put a stop to him. Kieran is a little bit telepathic and a little telekinetic, making for a crappy first date but giving him the super hero abilities that Ottawa Pride needs.

This speculative romance shines when it begins to subvert some of the typical motifs of m/m fiction. At the beginning of the novel, Kieran is set up on a blind date by his best friend, and they find each other attractive at first meeting. The device seems to be a lazy way to create the start of a love interest, but Burgoine toys with the notion. The blind date goes terribly wrong, and their recurrent encounters are so awkward that the two will never ever ever get back together. Instead, Kieran falls for the leather daddy pride organizer after he performs first aid on the man because of the first clash with the forces of Stigmatic Jack.

Engaging and hard to put down, Light speeds along at an incredible pace in a mixture of humor and urgency. A great narrator, Kieran is forced to juggle his new relationship, his hidden powers, and his ongoing battles in a plot that mixes drag queens, giant dogs, astrally-projected mentors, superhero-style battles. Throughout the many sub plots, no minor character ever gets forgotten, and a twist ending changes everything I thought I knew about the bad guys. Burgoine’s Light transcends the traditional limitations of its genre.

This book is recommended for libraries of all types as well as anyone interested in dipping a toe into the waters of m/m romance. With a minimum of angst combined with a lot going on, this may be a good jumping off point.

Mack Freeman

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