Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.
As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.
Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.
The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.
Cool Dudes Publishing
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
181 e-book pages
February 14, 2016
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Right out of the gate, the first sentence this book takes off with a crisis that, hopefully, very few of us can relate. A mass shooting. A horrifying, bloody massacre that takes place in a theater on a college campus at the hands of a raving lunatic.
And before I go further, I’ve gotta say that upon finishing this book, I went on an internet jaunt looking up mass shootings and school shootings. This was both sobering and horrific. I also watched the 20/20 special with Diane Sawyer that aired recently about the shooting at Columbine High School that took place in 1999.
Tragic events like this seem to be becoming more prevalent. In fact, as of this review, the last reported school shooting in the US occurred February 9th, 2016, in Muskegon Heights, Michigan where four people, including two students, were shot and injured.
To date, the most deadly school shooting took place on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007, where 32 students and faculty were killed and 17 wounded before the shooter committed suicide.
But others, Columbine (1999), Sandy Hook (2012), University of Texas-Austin (1966)–too many to name, all of them tragic and senseless. You want more sobering numbers? Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States that lists all shootings that have taken place in US schools since 1764 where at least one person was wounded. This is not an exhaustive list of all firearm discharges but explains in the heading which incidents are included. Note how decade by decade the number of incidents increases.
I don’t have answers…I barely have a soapbox to stand on. And I’m not going to use this space to talk about my varied thoughts on this–other than to say that this is all seriously–SERIOUSLY–bothersome, tragic, and senseless.
And it took me forcefully closing out my browser to stop reading about gun violence. I read this book on Valentine’s Day for shit’s sake.
My heart was in my throat for much of this. The descriptions were so vivid and palpable I could almost smell the gunpowder and I could feel the fear.
The story winds its way beyond the shooting and onto survival, some PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and yes hero worship.
We see two survivors fall in love. I was glad to see that this wasn’t so much a case of “we survived and now we’re inseparable” but became far more nuanced as they found their way to healing from this tragedy.
They developed a co-dependency that probably isn’t the healthiest. There’s some talk of therapy — which my God, how could you not need some serious couch time after going thru something so utterly terrifying?
There’s a lot of hesitancy in easing into this new relationship. But they also feel down to their bones that everything about it is right and meant to be, though neither had been with a man before.
I thought the love growing between these guys was authentic and beautiful.
But for me–and this is just me with a tad bit of aged wisdom–it’s hard for me to believe that relationships sparked by tragedy are usually the forever kind. I think it’s far more likely that as healing and recovery happen and life moves forward into the mundane daily business that initial sparks fizzle out, and so does the love. I’m cynical, though…so what do I know? And this is the kind of thing I like to be wrong about.
Despite my hardened heart, I enjoyed the story a great deal. Even if it’s a Happy For Now it was an engaging story.
This was my first Mia Kerick book, and I give her props because this was some brave subject matter to tackle. The writing was compelling and definitely kept my rapt attention. Though, I’ll admit I wish we’d had Liam’s point of view in some spots.
Mia is now on my watchlist, and it looks like I have a backlist to add to my ever-growing reading list.
Recommended. Just…have your favorite hugger on standby and never miss an opportunity to tell your people you love them.
This review also posted on GoodReads.