Title: Visible Friend
Author: K.Z. Snow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Christopher Borgasian, Denny Reagan
POV: 3rd & 1st persons
Setting: Cold Harbor, Wisconsin
Sub-Genre: Fantasy/Contemporary Romance
Cover Rating: 4
Only 24, Christopher Borgasian has made a drastic and terrifying change in his life. He’s turned his back on a lover he’d adored for three years. The breakup required more than regretfully spoken words; it was an arduous process that took over seven months. Now it’s time for Chris to see if he can make it on his own. Without heroin.
Without much of anything, really. Chris’s family rejected him nearly a decade ago when he came out, and his drug buddies, never true friends to begin with, are now off-limits. Chris Borgasian, gay recovering junkie, is alone with his determination.
The night before he leaves a sober-living facility to pursue his uncertain future, a stranger named Denny shows up in his room … then vanishes as mysteriously as he’d appeared. From that night on, Denny keeps returning, suddenly and inexplicably, whenever Chris battles temptation, self-doubt, or feelings of isolation. This handsome young man isn’t an angel, but his identity still strains credulity.
Believing in Denny means, for Chris, believing in the magical strength of a child’s longing—for the invisible made visible, the imaginary turned real, and, most incredible of all, the possibility of unquestioning acceptance and abiding love.
Christopher Borgasian has been seduced and enslaved by a fickle and jealous master. Above all else, Chris covets the ruler of all his desires; the euphoria, the emotional escape. He is the victim of his need to be dominated by the ultimate manipulator, the silent assassin, the thief—until the day he decides the captive must finally become the master of his own future.
Rehabilitation, for a junkie, is a life-long journey not taken in great strides but in small steps and missteps, each day filled with temptation and the endless seduction of giving over control to the drug that holds him hostage. Chris begins that journey with the support of strangers and mere acquaintances, the absence of family and friends an invisible scar that manifested itself through the heroin he embraced—save for the ethereal presence of the one who has watched over him, through the worst of circumstances, since he was four years old, even when that friend was forsaken.
Denny Reagan reveals himself to Chris on the eve of his release from a sober living facility. Is Denny an imaginary friend, a physical manifestation of Chris’s needs, a personification of his desires, an answer to an invocation made to a higher power? The answer to all of those questions might be yes. Part of the beauty of Visible Friend is that Denny is whomever the reader believes him to be—a wish fulfilled, a divine intervener, a benevolent spirit, a healthy addiction; Denny is, above all else, a reminder that, at one time in Chris’s life, he had experienced friendship, love, and acceptance.
Like the mythical goddess of love born of the seafoam, Denny seems to have risen from Chris’s own longing and imagination, born to keep a lonely boy company, to love him unconditionally and finally, to become the reflection of a craving to be whole and to be validated for who he has become, in spite of where he’s been.
K.Z. Snow has delivered a brilliant story of redemption. It is a book that examines the strength of the human spirit, the strength of the will to survive and to thrive against the worst of odds. This is a story of a wish come true, of love actualized, of second chances to make right all the wrongs of the past. Visible Friend should be appreciated for the message that even in the face of improbability, love prevails; it makes the impossible attainable, and gives substance to a young boy’s longing.
Denny and Chris attain heaven by way of hell, a journey I’m glad to have travelled with them.
Reviewed By: Lisa