Publisher: NineStar Press
Characters: Colin Page/Alonzo Green
Colin Page, eighteen-year-old community college student, apple polisher and all-around goody-goody, has a secret. He sees things that aren’t there. Unfortunately, the Doc Martens on the floor of the mail vestibule in his apartment building really are there and attached to a dead body. Hunkered over the body is someone Colin had barely noticed before, Private Investigator Al Green. Most people scare Colin, but for some reason, Al doesn’t, even after he reveals that he knows about the hidden reality of their world.
Alonzo Green, despite his low-power mind, is determined to help right the wrongs he unknowingly contributed to. He’s also hopelessly smitten. He knows it’s wrong—probably even dangerous—to enlist Colin’s help with the investigation. And that’s before considering all Al has to fear from Colin’s fiercely protective and powerful mother.
Colin and Al put some of the pieces together, but as soon as one thing becomes clear, the picture changes. The search for the Big Bad takes them from Portland to Tacoma and Seattle, and eventually to San Francisco, but their journey into each other’s arms is much shorter.
I love stories that explore the paranormal, and what grabbed me with The Visionary by Charli Coty was its exploration of a very different kind of power. Colin not only sees what others don’t, but auras—different colours which reveal things about people they’d often prefer kept hidden. I enjoyed this idea, and the world building that went along with it. Power can be stolen, and with dangerous consequences.
The author uses descriptive language really well, with some of the imagery sticking with me to the extent that I noted it down so I could use it in my review. These examples use colours, which I thought extended the fact that Colin doesn’t just see people, but also the colour surrounding them—“Forest-green moan,” and “Velvet tips of new fern tumbling on the wind.”
I also liked that the supporting characters were fleshed out, and had their own back stories and issues to deal with. Some were from Colin’s past, some from Alonzo’s, but I liked the way the cast worked together. I particularly liked Lavaughn who is Colin’s stepfather, and Dawn as I like strong female characters as part of my MM reads.
I thought Colin and Alonzo complemented each other well, as their personalities and life experiences are very different, although they hooked up quickly. Splitting the POV between each man also meant that the reader is introduced to Alonzo through Colin’s eyes, so there’s that hint of unreliable narrator. Is Colin’s perspective skewed because he is developing feelings for Alonzo, or is there a deeper manipulation going? After all, Colin isn’t the only one in this story with powers. I must admit I got a little confused and ended up re-reading a few bits to make sure I hadn’t missed anything during the part which is Colin’s perspective but that meshed with how Colin would have been feeling thrown into this world and learning that his own abilities are part of a much bigger picture.
But as the story continued, the pace picked up and Colin—and me as a reader—got more information about what was going on, I couldn’t put my tablet down. The ending is very satisfying, although there are consequences as there should be. The fact there were consequences gave the story a realistic touch. Colin’s power isn’t an easy one to live with, and the world and its inhabitants aren’t always good people.
I’d recommend The Visionary to readers who enjoy a complex story that doesn’t spoon feed all the information, interesting world-building, people with powers, and MCs who don’t always know the answers. 4 stars out of 5.