book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Dani Alexander’s “Shattered Glass” (2012)

8600eb1eedefebcd92fbf98d2c62871e0733775cYou won’t be able to put this one down! I absolutely loved it. There is no black-and-white in this story, and the author definitely pushes buttons and crosses lines. Austin and Peter’s emotional lives and power balances become entangled almost at once and draw in those around them as well, creating a fast-paced, frenetic, and almost feverish plot. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath before it’s onto the next crisis, the next plot twist or revelation.

I was admittedly frustrated at the beginning of this book, during Austin’s “but I’m not gay” phase. I have a definite preference for characters that are wholly, or almost wholly, accepting of their sexuality- whatever that may be- and the issue of being “gay” is just, well, not an issue. But I carried on with the story, and came to accept that Austin’s traumatic experiences as a teenager have affected his sexuality to the extent that he’s avoided any meaningful relationships with men- even friendships. Austin’s personal revelations are about more than just being “gay”, and indeed that becomes much less important as his journey goes on. That journey is more about accepting that his past traumas have shaped his life in ways he wouldn’t have thought possible.

Some readers will no doubt feel uncomfortable with the somewhat “stalker-y” way that Austin peruses Peter at the beginning of the book. Maybe I can reassure them by saying that, as someone who is very sensitive and hyper-aware of such things, I didn’t feel that it ultimately crossed any lines. Their relationship moves very, very fast, and Peter is far from being a passive player in it. Peter is more (much more) damaged and emotionally vulnerable than Austin is, and in some ways he’s being forced to rely on Austin’s position as a cop and financial resources. That’s a hefty power imbalance, but I think Peter is strong enough, witty enough, even manipulative enough to hold his own against the rather naive Austin.

If you’re like me, this book will draw you in so completely and carry you along so breathlessly, that you’ll feel pretty lost when it suddenly ends. I spent a very frantic hour desperately searching for the sequel, only to discover that it hasn’t been published yet. Devastating! I definitely need more of these characters, and much more of Alexander’s writing.

{Summary from Amazon.com:}
A male prostitute, a mangy cat, a murder and an obsession that threatens his career, his impending marriage and his life. Nothing is going as planned for Austin Glass.

Austin Glass seems to have it all, A loving fiancee, a future with the FBI and a healthy sized trust fund. At least on the surface. He also has a grin and a wisecrack for every situation. But the smile he presents to the world hides a painful past he’s buried too deeply to remember, and his quips mask bitterness and insecurity. Austin has himself and most of the whole world fooled—until he meets a redhead in a pair of bunny slippers.

As events unfold in the biggest case of his life, Austin’s carefully planned future unravels, and he finds himself pushed into making quick, life-changing decisions. But can he trust himself or anything he feels, when each event seems to be just a series of volatile reactions?

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