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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
A Gathering Storm a very good retelling of a difficult subject
Arts & Entertainment
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A Gathering Storm a very good retelling of a difficult subject

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

A GATHERING STORM
BY JAMESON CURRIER
CHELSEA STATION EDITIONS


A Gathering Storm by Jameson Currier is a book that's difficult to read. It's well written and brings the reader directly into the plot, but it is in the subject matter that one finds the challenge. It's about a vicious and senseless hate crime. But the novel doesn't make this the only focus; it explores the main people involved, those indirectly connected to them, and a town that sees the ripple effects such a heinous act can elicit both in and outside of their community.

The story centers on Danny, a boy small in stature, slightly effeminate and a college student at a school not far outside of Washington DC. Newly out of the closet, Danny isn't shy about his homosexuality but doesn't announce it either - aware of his more conservative surroundings. He goes to class, has friends, and explores on-line dating like any other normal student - anywhere - in any university town of the United States.

One night Danny goes out to a 'mixed' bar where he meets two boys named A.J. and Rick. The two strangers, strung out after a drug binge, plot to rob Danny and start off with subtle flirting and light conversation. The two boys offer the smaller boy a ride back to his apartment. When all three of the boys leave together the trouble starts. Danny is attacked as the truck drives to a secluded graveyard outside of a small church. As the beating frenzy escalates, the attackers' anger, frustration, resentment, and hate transforms a planned robbery into a near-deadly assault. Leaving the barely conscious Danny tied to a fence-post; the two attackers take his wallet and his shoes before driving away, leaving Danny defenseless against the elements. It is the stupidity of an attempted drug transaction immediately following the college student's beating that allows the two other boys to get caught. The police are unaware of the hate crime when the initial arrest occurs until they are alerted of a horrific find found by early morning joggers. Soon it is not only the fate of the three boys involved that becomes the center of an investigation. It is also the town and its residents that becomes, thanks to the decent of mass media, under the scrutiny of the entire country.

To say the story is a slightly masked tale of Mathew Shepherd is not in question. Currier explains his motives for writing the story in the prologue, stating that the first draft was indeed started as a personal response trying to deal with the horrific attack and murder on the Wyoming college student. The parallels are noticeable including the motives, the involvements of the assailants' girlfriends, and the gruesome scenes at a deserted fencepost. Currier even includes the audacity of zealots hiding under a religious guise and preparing to picket Danny's funeral, showing that hate crimes happen on different levels.

A Gathering Storm is much more than another factual retelling of the case. Currier infuses subtle details from other true hate crimes incorporating them into the storyline. His third-person, journalistic style allows the author to speculate about the characters feelings, thoughts and emotions. This technique allows the facts to easily be conveyed allowing a 'silent observer' effect for the reader to be in on the scenes developing before them. Currier explores the thoughts and reactions to the two assailants' girlfriends, the sheriff involved in the case, relatives to all three boys, the doctors working to save his life, and various people directly (and indirectly) involved showing the unmentioned butterfly effect a horrible crime can have on so many others.

A Gathering Storm is an important book to read and it's definitely worth your time to read it! The book focuses less on the horror of the action itself, and more on the consequences - both positive and negative - left in its wake. A Gathering Storm is very well crafted allowing any reader to explore, and possibly understand the results of such a gruesome cause-and-effect crime on any town or on anyone.



Jameson Currier (http://www.jamesoncurrier.com/index.html) is the author of four short story anthologies and six novels. His novel Where the Rainbow Ends was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award. In 2010 he founded Chelsea Station Editions a press dedicated to Gay literature, and in 2011 founded the Gay literary magazine (http://www.chelseastationmagazine.com/) Chelsea Station.

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