Author Name: Mia Kerick
Book Name: The Art of Hero Worship
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Pages or Words: 212 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Gay Fiction
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
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.
Jessie gives The Art of Hero Worship 5 ✨s
Mia Kerick is the Mistress of writing damaged characters who are faced with very real and very heartbreaking challenges. This book tackles the increasingly common occurrence of mass shootings in places we once thought we were safe and puts Jason, a young man paralyzed with fear, in the hands of one who has a bone-deep need to save.
On the surface, this isn’t a romance. This is about fear and learning how to live with it, confusion, acceptance, lack of acceptance, and the discovery that one’s hero just might need saving too. There’s a saying: the life you save may be your own. This is the truest description I can give of our hero. Liam is big, strong, cool under pressure, loving, but oh so very much in need of saving. He has hero syndrome and the reason why will break your heart. Once Jason realizes the man that constantly rides to his rescue is hiding something even darker than the hell they’ve already faced together, he makes it his mission to help him and I was thrilled to see him set aside his own fears. It really was the only way they could move forward as a couple in a healthy relationship—codependent, yes, but openly and without illusion.
Dig deeper and this is very much a romance between two men who fit despite all the reasons why they shouldn’t. There are all the little quirks of getting to know someone, tender loving moments, great sex, dinner dates, meet the family moments, and flowers. It takes great skill as an author to fit all these pieces together and make it work. The love story wasn’t written as a cure-all for all the other issues, it was a complement, and that’s a skill I can only hope to learn someday.
I also must say that I never once thought of this as a “gay for you,” even though the characters are both straight men who fall in love. There are passages in the book that delve into this because everyone from their families to their friends to themselves are in shock over this “switch.” The intense connection between these two men had very little to do with gender and once they accepted that it was real, that it wasn’t going away, that the need was greater than gender or sexual orientation labels, it made perfect sense.
My only complaint is that we’re only 14 days into the new year and I’ve already found my favorite book of 2016. It’s entirely possible that I have a mild case of hero worship for Mia.
Dawn gives The Art of Hero Worship 5 ✨s
Once again, Mia Kerick tackles a very difficult subject and does so beautifully.
Jason and Liam are both attending a theater production of Hamlet when a mass shooting takes place. Liam uses his body to shield Jason and then leads him to safety. The beginning of this book is chilling and was so difficult for me to read because Mia writes in haunting detail how I imagine a mass shooting would be. But please don’t let this deter you, keep reading, the story is worth it.
Jason and Liam form a bond through their experience that eventually turns sexual. Both formerly straight men find themselves deeply attracted to one another both emotionally and sexually. The relationship that builds between them is natural and passionate despite their families and friends disapproval. While Liam saves Jason during the shooting becoming Jason’s hero, Jason discovers things in Liam’s past that leads him to be Liam’s hero as well.
This story begins with the worst kind of human tragedy, but becomes such a beautiful story of love, devotion, acceptance and hero worship. I again found myself completely gutted by and so incredibly grateful for Mia’s words.
No, I’m not even remotely safe. But thankfully I play dead far better than my dog did when I taught him that trick at the age of seven.
The shots are earsplitting and getting louder because the shooter’s heading our way. I’m so fucking scared I’m trembling violently, but I promised the guy lying on top of me that I’d stay still. I concentrate on taking short shallow breaths, one after another, in my effort to stop trembling. To stay frozen—like I’ve been since I pulled Ginny to the floor and promptly let go of her hand so I could curl up into a tight fetal ball.
Somebody near me sits up, scrambles to his knees, and impulsively crawls toward the far aisle.
“Bang, bang… you’re dead.” The voice comes from directly above me; it’s blank and monotone and controlled. The weird snicker that follows is chilling. I want nothing more than to throw the big guy off my back and run like hell toward the double doors, but I just keep on going with the short breaths and stay as still as I’ve ever been in my life. Even in my terrified state, I know that the guy on top of me is totally exposed and I can’t move because I’ll cheat him out of his life, for sure. Which is so not cool when he’s trying to save mine.
I smell blood. Never noticed the smell of blood before. It reminds me of Grandma’s penny collection… if it got spilled onto the sticky floor of the theater. The scent of old copper is everywhere… like wet pennies strewn all around me on the floor.
Shooter’s right above us now. Don’t move… don’t move… don’t move….
“Dear God, help us!” This request seems to catch the shooter’s attention and he turns around and steps away from us. I curse myself for feeling as relieved, and maybe even glad, as I do.
We wait and it seems like forever. We wait as voices beg and plead and pray and he shuts them up with bullets. We wait as the sound of shots moves to the front left near the exit, where I figure he’s shooting at anyone who tries to get out through the double doors.
And then, for a second, it’s quiet.
“Now….” The big guy’s voice is whispering but it seems to blast into my left ear. “We have to make our move now.” Before I agree, the heaviness of his body lifts and I feel cold and exposed. “This is our chance to get outta here….”
His hand is attached to the back of my wrist, clutching me so hard that I know I’ll have fingerprint bruises for a week… if I live so long.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
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