Cold Fusion by Harper Fox ~ Book Review by Ulysses

cold-fusionTitle: Cold Fusion

Author: Harper Fox

Publisher: Samhain

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 01/05/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Blurb:

Their love is the catalyst that could save the planet…or cost their lives.

As an environmental activist for Peace Warrior, Kier Mallory never hesitated to throw himself into dangerous situations. Until his hotheadedness costs the lives of two fellow crewmembers on an anti-whaling mission.

He finds no refuge in his hometown on Scotland’s north coast, where everyone knows what this son of a broken fisherman has done. Effectively homeless, Mal returns to one of his favorite places—Spindrift, a rustic colony of artist and crafter huts.

Spindrift is dilapidated and empty, save for a lone resident. Vivian Calder, a brilliant but emotionally detached scientist who appears to have done the impossible—mastered cold fusion. A clean, free, limitless source of power.

Despite Viv’s aversion to contact, a fragile bond forms between them, seemingly one atom at a time. Until Mal, determined to redeem himself by revealing Viv’s accomplishment to the world, brings down the wrath of an oil-dependent establishment, risking not only their love, but Viv’s life.

Product Warnings
Contains a disgraced environmentalist and an autistic genius who go from strangers to lovers-for-life in thirteen days. Don’t believe in miracles? We’ll make you.

My View:

So, let’s see: Northanger Abbey meets Skyfall?  If you don’t get the references, go look them up.

In this full-length romance novel, Harper Fox continues to surprise. Her intense skill at characterization, her fantastic sense of place (in this case the desolate wilds of northern Scotland), and her uncanny ability to pluck the reader’s every emotional string, are all in full play. She drags us right to the edge of despair, but (I hasten to add, discreetly) never over it.

Kier Mallory is sort of a yutz. He has fled an abusive father and a weak, ineffective mother; leaving behind a scrabbling childhood as a fisherman’s son on the edge of nowhere. Having finally found a place where he feels both safe and useful – leading a small band of anti-whale-hunters in the Norwegian Sea – his hubris leads him astray with disastrous results.

When he returns home, skulking back into his isolated highland village of Kerra like a whipped dog, he is rescued from his own bad judgment by an unlikely angel: the odd, brilliant son of the late Laird of Calder, Vivian Calder. Disinherited by his dead father, tinkering with arcane science in a crumbling artists’ colony established by the late laird, Vivian is somewhere on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. The family castle, oft named but never seen, lingers like a ghost in the background, reminding us of the social gulf that stands between these two men and their view of the world. While Mallory is more akin to Fox’s expected broken anti-hero, Vivian is something new. The loving care with which she crafts Vivian’s character makes him both believable and illuminating. (Ok, I confess, Benedict Cumberbatch should play him in the movie, which none of us will ever see, alas.)

What at first seems to be a simple semi-comic romantic narrative becomes a complex, emotionally fraught race against time. Just when most authors would be winding down, Fox starts ramping up, interspersing her plotline with charmingly awkward sexual interludes that are joyous in the purity of their innocence. I imagine my straight-guy book club (I’m the exception) squirming their way through this book; and yet would dare any of them not to be moved by the beauty of Fox’s writing and her ability to bring emotion alive on the page.

Having just read and loved Fox’s recent “Marty and the Pilot,” I can only shake my head at the difference between these two books. As an ardent supporter of the m/m genre, and all queer romance in general, I simply have to keep tipping my hat to someone who so consistently delivers both quality and content. “Cold Fusion” should make us all proud to be fans.

Links

Cold Fusion on Goodreads
Samhain
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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