“Out of the blue, I was thinking of you.” — K.C. Burn
Title: Rainbow Blues
Author: K.C. Burn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Having come out late in life, forty-three-year-old Luke Jordan is at a loss about how to conduct himself as a gay man. As a construction manager, he’s not interested in being out at work, but he’d like to find a boyfriend or at least some gay friends. Two years after his wife got all their friends in the divorce, he’s no closer to the life he wants.
Zach, Luke’s adult son, takes charge and signs him up for the Rainbow Blues, a social group for gay blue-collar workers. At an event, he not only finds friends but meets Jimmy Alexander, part-time stage actor and full-time high school biology teacher. Jimmy loves the stage but wishes potential boyfriends weren’t so jealous of the time he devotes to it. When he meets Luke and finds him accepting of his many facets, he thinks it’s a dream come true.
Their relationship quickly moves into serious territory, but their connection is tested to its breaking point by the offer of a juicy movie role that takes Jimmy to the opposite coast and into the path of a very sexy costar.
Review: K.C. Burn is an auto-buy author for me. If you haven’t read her Toronto Tales series, what in the world are you waiting for? Well, Rainbow Blues did not disappoint. It is ripe for a sequel, as well. Just sayin’. There’s a whole other young gay character needs hookin’ up…
First of all, Ms. Burns’ main character is forty-three!!! Yes, I mean it. He is over thirty. And he still gets erections and feels desire and loneliness and insecurities. Meaning, he’s still a worthwhile human being. It is so great to read about a character who is over forty and is still a sexual being. STDs are running rampant through retirement homes for a reason, and that reason is sexual desire doesn’t disappear when you blow out the candles on your thirtieth birthday cake.
Rainbow Blues is an original idea. It isn’t like anything I’ve read before anyway. The name comes from a social group for gay men who work in blue collar professions and are closeted at work. It is just a social organization, not a dating service. This is where Luke, forty-three and divorced for two years after over twenty years of marriage, makes his first friend in decades. Luke’s son presents him with a one-year membership to the group for his second Christmas after the divorce. Seems Dad isn’t hiding his dismal social life as well as he thought.
It is during one of the group’s functions that he sees Jimmy. Here’s where it gets a little schmaltzy and predictable, but K.C. Burn does it with style, so I was able to overlook the cheese factor. Jimmy is the most beautiful human being Luke has ever seen. Cue the harp music, rainbows and butterflies. Jimmy is a little younger but appears much younger than Luke. This will eventually cause some problems for Luke with his twenty-four-year-old son.
Jimmy’s dream was always to be a movie star. He tried and failed to make that dream come true, so now he is a teacher who does Community Theater, and does it very well, as a hobby. He likes his life but, of course, there’s something missing. Luke and Jimmy dive head first into the deep end and don’t look back.
Until Hollywood comes calling. One misunderstanding after another layered between numerous non-communications and sprinkled with insecurities lead Jimmy and Luke right where you would expect. The beauty is in the execution of the somewhat predictable, sometimes over-the-top love story. Ms. Burn creates characters who are well-rounded. I felt with them. I teared up a few times. I yelled at them (in my head, I’m not that crazy!) to just talk to each other already!!!! I really liked them, even when they were being knotheads.
She knows her way around a turn of phrase, our K.C. The quote at the top, that’s hers. It was coined when Luke gave Jimmy a gift at a difficult time in his life, just because. It became a running theme throughout the book. I loved what she did with it and how she used it as a tool to enable two communication challenged men to let each other know what they were thinking.
Rainbow Blues is a fairly low-angst read. It’s not lacking in humorous moments and secondary characters. And it’s pretty apparent by the true depth of the feelings Luke and Jimmy feel for each other how it will end. So if you haven’t gotten to the beach yet this summer, this is an excellent choice to take along.
You can buy Rainbow Blues here: