The Blue Light Project
A NovelBook - 2011
From one of Canada's finest writers comes a masterful novel about the clash of art and advertising, the cultish grip of celebrity and the intense connections that can form in times of crisis.
An unidentified man storms a television studio where KiddieFame , a controversial children's talent show wherein kids who are too talented are "killed off," is being filmed. He is armed with an explosive device, and issues only a single demand: an interview with journalist Thom Pegg. It's a strange request, everyone agrees. A disgraced former investigative journalist, caught fabricating sources, Pegg is down on his luck and working for a lowly tabloid. The demand surprises everyone - Pegg most of all, and he is reluctant to play a role. But pressure from federal authorities leaves little choice, and so it is that Thom Pegg finds himself the envy of all the high-level journalists on hand as he makes his way into the darkened studio to uncover the truth.
Outside, as the hostage taking heads into its third day, enthralled and horrified onlookers watch the drama unfold through a constant stream of media speculation and rumours that race through the crowd. In the throes of this crisis two characters - one running from former glory and the other from corporate burnout - meet and instinctively connect. Eve is an Olympic gold medalist and much-loved local daughter who jogs the city's streets at night and searches for her long-lost brother, Ali, in its shadowy corners. Rabbit is a secretive street artist who is just completing a massive project involving strange installations on the rooftops of hundreds of buildings throughout the city. Both carry the scars of their pasts, and seem to be searching for a way to become whole.
It's a fearful time, when people have serious doubts about the future and about each other, yet are compelled to come together to vent their anxiety and make themselves heard. Outside the studio, chaos reigns, and Eve and Rabbit must navigate police checkpoints as they skirt the unruly masses in pursuit of the truth of what happened to Ali. Inside the studio, however, it's all about control, as Pegg listens to the hostage taker's story and begins to realize the terrible, violent truth about what he has planned.
When the crisis comes to a head, events collide and riots grip the streets. Prospects seem bleak as the tension of the hostage taking is unleashed upon the city. But when Rabbit's secret installation is finally activated, people are shocked into seeing the power beauty still has in this world, and into recognizing the real possibility of hope. The Blue Light Project is a hard-hitting and emotionally wrought commentary on the forces that attract and repel us, and the faith that enables us to continue, even in our darkest hours.