Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: Running Blind
AUTHOR: Kim Fielding & Venona Keyes
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 7th, 2016
Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.
After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin and leaves both men running blind.
Awwww… Kim Fielding partially wrote a non-angsty book! It must be the influence of Venona Keyes!
This is the very sweet story of Kyle, a 40 year old gay man, who has recently suffered a stroke and been left blind. Kyle is a voice actor, mostly doing voices for anime characters, one of which has made him quite famous. He has also done some narration for audio books. As I am a big fan of audio books, I enjoyed that aspect of this book quite a bit, especially the mention of a certain narrator named Greg…. Sneaky authors! So Kyle is in a comfortable relationship with a guy named Matt, his best friend/partner, but not really his lover any longer. Kyle has what turns out to be a stroke, and wakes up blind in the hospital. As he comes to terms with his new situation, he realizes it’s time to let Matt move on to other things, and have a chance to follow his dream. I wanted to hate Matt for this, but it actually was the best decision for both men. With the help of his slightly meddling sister Lily, Kyle settles in to life, but he is missing his days as a runner. He is actually able to see a bit, when in motion, so one day he makes the decision to step out on his own, and run. Where he literally runs in to Seth, who eventually becomes his running partner, friend, lover, and more… Seth also comes with some baggage. He is the caretaker for his elderly and sick mother, and there is something in his past holding him back from contemplating romantic relationships. Until he gets to know the man he saves from a near death experience caused by a children’s toy!
This story is all from Kyle’s perspective, so we get to know him very well, and the story is really focused on Kyle and his blindness. A lot of time is spent building him up as a character, so I was much more attached to him than to Seth. Lot’s of time is also spent on Kyle’s career, how he’s going to get back to work, we follow him to a convention, his sister works with him, so we see them interact a lot as well. All of that is fine, but Seth doesn’t get as much attention as I would have liked. It’s a very slow burn story, Seth comes in at about 25% or so in to the story, but the romance part doesn’t start until a little past the 50% mark. Then they date veeeerrrrrryyyyy slowly for a while. At times I wished for a little more excitement in their story, a little more angst and drama. It’s a good story, and I liked the two of them together, but it wasn’t overly dramatic. They are passionate when they are in bed, but that doesn’t happen often on page, and didn’t happen for the first time until after 80% of the book was over… I did like Seth’s revelation about his past drama, that perked things up some, but not enough for long. Basically it’s a sweet, light (ish) story, about a blind man finding love. The ending was just perfect though, and I loved it!
It’s always hard when reading a coauthored book to tell who did what, or how. The authors seemed to have put a lot of research time in to this book, Kyle has a specific issue that allows him to see a bit here and there, something I had never heard of before, and I loved learning something new. Also the details about doing voice overs and book narrations was interesting. They put in lots of details I enjoyed. I have read a good portion of Kim Fielding’s books and dearly love her writing. Her stories do tend to be on the dramatic side, and keep me worried until the end. This one is lighter than her usual offerings, so if you are used to her darker books, know that this one isn’t like that. I’ve read another book coauthored by Venona Keyes with a different author and enjoyed it, but she doesn’t write much so it’s hard for me to offer an opinion on her writing specifically. I can say I liked this book, the two authors make a good team!
Reading this book was an enjoyable way to spend a dreary Saturday. I liked the characters and their budding relationship. I liked the plot and the details of Kyle’s medical issue and his career. I liked the writing and care the authors took in making the story feel authentic. Yes, it could have been a little more exciting for me, and it could have moved a little faster, but that’s all minor. I loved the ending! It’s a well written, slow burning love story!