A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Poetry, punk music, sex with a little kink in a hot and cold relationship that rocked.
Blurb: Etienne never thought getting his pocket picked could lead to a first date. He knows the second he catches punk boy Brady’s eye that the guy is pure trouble, but Et can’t resist his wicked sense of humor, pretty face, cold hands — and the “piss off” swagger when Brady’s on stage with his band doesn’t hurt, either.
From Rimbaud to Buzzcocks to Malbec to handcuffs, they introduce each other to their favorite pleasures, and the chemistry is unstoppable. But Brady disappears in the night, won’t give Etienne a phone number, doesn’t talk about his past; Etienne’s never known someone so hungry for affection but with so many trust issues. Et would give all he has, but he has the feeling Brady needs saving from something before he can take what Et offers.
Then, the “something” shows up: Brady’s dangerous family, all of them more than human — including Brady, who has the ability to supercool matter with the slightest touch. Throw in the family talent for criminal activity, and it’s an explosion waiting to happen.
Et wants to help him escape his past, but if Brady keeps disappearing, he may not get the chance.
The Superpowered Love Series
I’m going to declare my bias up front; any story that includes a character who hears Rimbaud for the first time and gets a hard on is my kind of book. This is the quote…
” To whom shall I hire myself out? What beast should I worship? What holy image is to be attacked? What hearts shall I break? What lie must I cling to? In what blood tread?
and Brady, aka Riot Boy- punk bass player with his retro Clash T shirts – is the guy with the responsive cock and runaway star of the show.
Following a bad break up with his manipulative lover Paul, Etienne’s big sister Susanne and her partner Lucy take him to a club to get him and his libido back out there. Somewhat detached and crowd watching a reluctant Etienne sees a “blazingly hot punk rock idolater”…..wearing a …..”.tight gray T-Shirt stenciled in black spray paint to read RIOT GEAR“. Brady is the bad boy with attitude and a needy little handcuffs kink Etienne never even bothered dreaming of.Their first meeting is an adrenaline high start up to the story.
Set in the same everyday world with a paranormal edge as Equilibrium reviewed by me here. The book is essentially a heightened, skin close forensic analysis of two guys with differences getting it together. Morally compromised Brady is awakened with the cold superpower of freezing matter; ability average, control debatable. Etienne is a good looking sweetheart of a guy with a hot body; too modest to fully recognise his appeal. It is his intelligent voice telling the story of this unexpected coup de foudre. He is living the dangerous ‘way out of my league’ wet dream as he allows himself to get involved with Brady and his- if in doubt- run response. Etienne is the safe refuge that Brady, “ damaged and used up in ways my relatively sheltered and cared for existence didn’t allow me to fathom…….” really needs.
Brady is often described physically, with his body in various attitudes draped over Etienne, underlining his hunger for the comfort of touch. Reinforcing this importance is Etienne’s unselfish sexually empathic urge to map Brady’s body with touch.
Superficially Katey Hawthorne’s main character’s seem instantly recognisable; neurotic damaged musician and steady reliable ordinary guy, however both of her creations are far more than this. She has worked with her characters until they seem individual and special. Appealing distinctive details such as the Rimbaud poetry fetish, food and drink preferences, and musical imperatives are displayed with casual skill. Brady’s Clash inspired one liner T shirts especially the one imploring, ” Fuck me, Etienne ” are cleverly disruptive. All their dialogue works as spoken language should, all very generation ‘ now ‘ with that nice additional kick- an enviably cool script.
The retreat, side step and advance of this emotionally tentative but physically furnace hot relationship is interrupted by the rude reappearance of Brady’s past. His dangerously volatile family who steal using their superpowers are a real threat to their fragile growing partnership.
Brady’s ruthless but painful solution to his problems, while appropriate to his personality, left me feeling rather side lined and left out of the action, indeed much as Etienne was. However it is significant that Brady is not rescued by Etienne. Instead Etienne provides the need or impetus for him to rescue himself. While Brady has instant eye appeal, Etienne’s personality is gradually revealed to have a very agreeable depth of self knowledge, patience and emotional bravery.There is a great scene between Brady, Etienne and his ex Paul which scratches any bad break up itch by deliberately reinforcing Etienne’s understated attractiveness.
Built into the story is a nice effective contrast between their respective families. Etienne’s protective sister is a strong character demonstrating a quirky voice of reason. She is also quite taken by Brady’s brand of in your face presence. (Who could resist a character whose official biography under the heading favourite super villain reads, ” I’m going with the White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia.I feel for Edmund, man.”)
The book is dominated by the mood swings of the main character’s relationship. For me what it lacked in plot is made up for in intensity, humour and character development. The sub plot with Brady’s unfortunate family felt a little under developed as did it’s conclusion. Still in this case Riot Boy‘s blatant punk rock star scene stealing felt totally inevitable and completely right.
(For added value and musical insights check out the play list -I’d forgotten how incredible The Clash were.)