Colin meets private investigator, Alonzo, when he is standing over a dead body in the lobby of their apartment building. Aside from clearly seeing the two familiar men, Colin is struck by the purple fog surrounding the body and the moving tattoo of a flower on the dead man’s arm. Alonzo is not surprised by either of Colin’s revelations, calmly telling Colin that “murder is purple.”
Despite Al’s attempts to keep Colin away from the investigation, both men become entangled in a dangerous world of power and murder, putting both their lives in danger and uncovering secrets about their lives.
The Visionary is a dark and complex novel that engaged me in parts, whilst others I struggled with. I particularly liked how the characters of Colin and Alonzo unite, so much so that I could not imagine them succeeding separately. The characters of both men develop effectively as The Visionary progresses and in a novel that has so many intricacies, Charli Coty is obviously aware of how to keep her story driven by the two men involved.
Colin learns to embrace his paranormal powers throughout The Visionary, becoming stronger mentally and emotionally. The story begins with Colin precariously balanced between adult and child. He is eighteen and at college, but treated immaturely by his overprotective mother because of his differences. I found it frustrating that Colin so frequently uses the word “kid” when referring to himself, though further into the story this is not an issue. I certainly would have liked to have known more about Colin before the last part of the novel, but this is how Coty’s storytelling seems to work. The Visionary is full of secrets, lies, and half-truths and the reader is only given so much information, making us eager to know more.
Much of Colin’s growing confidence is as a result of Al and his easy acceptance of the powers Colin has, although I did not really understand the extent of Al’s own. The romance between the two men develops organically, though perhaps is accelerated by the threat on their lives. Their lovemaking sparks “silver fireworks,” but I personally did not fully appreciate the connection and passion between them. This could be because of my own preference for first-person narration in such a character-driven story, or just because the events in The Visionary are so involved that the feelings of Colin and Al are lessened.
Clearly, the paranormal element in this novel is convincing, but the aspect in The Visionary that I struggled the most with is that Coty never really explains Colin’s powers or those of people like him. The word “Natural” is not used until nearly halfway through the novel and “visionary” much later. As this is the core focus of the novel, I would have expected Coty to give her readers more information and many questions I had were left unanswered.
The Visionary is not only a gary romance, although the relationship between Colin and Al is the primary one. Coty also includes bisexuals in a female/female partnership and a transsexual character. I think this opens The Visionary up to a wider readership and also reinforces the theme of acceptance that runs throughout the novel.
The Visionary is tense and intriguing and because of this will appeal to fans of dark paranormal stories, although I did not fully engage with Coty’s writing.