Review of Avery Cockburn's "Throwing Stones"


It's a little hard for me to pin down exactly what it is that I enjoy so much about Avery Cockburn's Glasgow Lads series. Is it the Scottish setting, so fresh and different from LA, New York, San Francisco, and all of the other usual gay suspects? Is it that while her LGBT characters are usually quite hunky (being athletes and all), Cockburn's are complicated, complex people who seem believable? Or is it her choice of sports -- soccer and now curling -- about which I don't know much, and therefore find new and fresh. Or is it just the plain, simple fact Cockburn is a heck of a storyteller?

I suppose it's all of those, but I think there is another factor that really cinches it for me: Cockburn writes stories about characters who are above all decent, kind people who are trying to do the right thing in their lives. She writes the opposite of "asshole" fiction, a genre I loathe. I'd so much finish a book and feel better about the world and the people I share the planet with.

In Throwing Stones, a spin-off from her usual Glasgow Lads series, we meet Oliver, a former Canadian champion, now reduced to coaching because of a scandal in his past. And Luca, a young man leading his team into an important series of matches that could shape his future for years to come. I won't spoil how the relationship between the two men develops, but even though it happens quickly, it's entirely believable, and has you pulling for the two of them.

Don't let the curler setting turn you off. Cockburn handles the explanations of the sport with great aplomb and gives you enough info for you to follow what's happening, without clubbing you over the head with needless detail. And the cheeky asides about curling that open each chapter never failed to give me a chuckle.

So do yourself a favor and check out this book. Then go back and read the entire Glasgow Lads series. It will restore your faith in humanity. At least it did for me.