“Maybe kids are the only ones capable of love. As good as it gets, before you get all fucked-up.” – Katey Hawthorne
Title: Re-Entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5)
Author: Katey Hawthorne
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 227 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Malory Claremont was born and raised to be the villain in someone else’s story, complete with fire-based superpowers.
But then his cousin and former partner-in-crime, Brady, led him into a trap, and he’s been in superpowered lockdown ever since.
When he gets out on parole, he meets Theo McCracken, a cold-superpowered ex-offender. Theo has a modern Hamlet-style past, dangerously pretty eyes, and a hunger for affection that even Mal’s best defensive efforts can’t deny for long.
They’ve paid their debts to society, but society doesn’t care–from blackmailing coworkers to suspicion from the neighbors, it’s hard to catch a fair chance. Pile that on top of their dark family pasts haunting their every step, plus all the leftover abandonment issues and paranoia, and it feels like just a matter of time before they’ll be shoved right back into prison.
After all the people he’s hurt, Mal isn’t sure he deserves a chance to live his own life, to choose his own labels, to be his own man. But maybe having someone like Theo, someone who can love him and be loved, scars and all, could make the whole endless struggle worthwhile.
Review: Re-Entry Burn could be misinterpreted as just two men trying to make it in the world after having paid their dues to society for crimes they committed. It could be looked upon as just one more story about two broken and lost souls who must come to terms with their own portion of self-loathing, as well as the gamut of reactions by those they now interact with, from care and friendship to loathing, and even blackmail. This story could simply be passed off as a study in how an ex-con makes his way back into a society designed to allow him only to exchange one prison for another. However, that type of story would never be written by Katey Hawthorne. For you see, this one, Re-Entry Burn, is raw and powerful and an unflinching look at two men who have lost everything and are frantically clawing their way back to the surface in order just to breathe.
A bit of background: This is book five of the Superpowered Love series. We met our main character, Mallory, in book two. His cousin Brady, who figured largely in that second installment, was responsible for ratting out Mal and his father to the cops. Consequently, through some clever lawyering, Mal ends up in a federal prison designed to hold the awakened and is given a lighter sentence due to the defense of his being abused as a child by his horrid father. When Mal is released, he is literally homeless and without any family—-as most are in prison–except Brady, whom he is not allowed to see. While he was in lockup, he could openly acknowledge who he was–an awakened with electrical powers, but now, once again he is forced to hide that from everyone he meets. In essence, he has exchanged one jail cell for another.
As part of his parole he must attend group therapy, and it is here that he meets Theo. Now, let me stop right here and say that if after reading this blurb you find Mal interesting, you will simply adore Theo. Wound tighter than humanly possible, here is a snarky and seemingly self-assured young man who hides a deep pain and sense of abandonment. Having been in prison for killing his abusive stepfather, Theo crackles with the icy coldness he throws off. He is the wild hair to the more carefully controlled Mal. When the two meet in group, it is a sure bet that sparks will fly between the two of them.
Here is the true genius of Katey Hawthorne–her ability to write with poignant detail and bristling reality. The voice and character of her men places them at the top of the chart. From the snarky humor to their painful introspective musings, these are real men who nestle into your psyche and drive straight into your heart. The dialogue is clever and reveals so much about those who speak it. It is so difficult to write a twenty something male, and yet this author does so with such precision that it is so very easy to forget she is a woman and not a man herself. Katey Hawthorne is a gifted writer who has the ability to lay bare her characters and create a story in which they spark with life.
This is the last of the Superpowered Love series for my review, and I can honestly say it is the strongest and grittiest of all the installments. This series has been an incredible journey into the world and mind of author Katey Hawthorne. She is an outstanding storyteller and well worth the read. While each of these novels can be read as a standalone, I strongly urge you to begin with book number one and work your way through this amazing series!
You can buy Re-Entry Burn here: