Title: Pieces
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: JMS Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella (19K, 86 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Summary Review: An old love becomes a new love for Patrick, after coping with tragedy and loss.


Patrick Donovan has spent the last three anniversaries of his lover’s suicide getting drunk at Josh Stevens’ bar. It’s at the bar he feels closest to Andrew, the man he misses, as well as to the man he has truly loved since high school, Josh, his dead lover’s cousin.

Troubled by Patrick’s annual visits to the bar, Josh encourages the man to put the pieces of his broken life back together and move on from his grief. Though it’s clear to Josh that Patrick yearns to move on with him, he wants no part of it. He’s avoided long-term relationships and knows the last thing he should do is get involved with Patrick, especially when he believes the man’s shattered heart still belongs to Andrew.

But Josh changes his mind once Patrick takes his advice and begins dating other guys. Despite his fear of committment and becoming a substitute for Andrew, Josh can no longer ignore his growing feelings for Patrick. Will he be able to let the man go, or will he eventually surrender to the notion that Patrick is perfect for him after all?


Patrick just didn’t seem to be able to get over the suicide of his lover Andrew. They had been friends since high school and then lovers later, and when Andrew took his own life Patrick fell apart. This year, as was his practice, he showed up at the bar owned by Josh and Eddie, Andrew’s cousins who were also old friends. In fact Josh was more than an old friend, he was Patrick’s first lover, a one night stand in high school and the only man he had ever loved, but it was the old story of a love that was spurned. As he sat in the bar getting more intoxicated by the minute Josh realized that it was time to either call him a cab or take him home.  He took him home. Things didn’t go quite as either planned once they arrived at Patrick’s apartment as Patrick made one more try to get Josh back into his life and into his bed but he was too drunk to complete the seduction even though Josh was willing.

The next day when he showed up for his car he was embarrassed but determined to have it out with Josh once and for all, to find out where matters stood between them. When they did meet Josh suggested that he needed psychiatric help to move on, and in addition a new man in his life wouldn’t hurt rather than obsessessing over someone he couldn’t have i.e. Josh. To Josh’s surprise Patrick took his advice and showed up at the bar a few days later with a date, and that’s when things got interesting and Josh made his move.

Usually I try to stay away from books that are angst filled and this one certainly fit that description. Patrick was trying to get over his grief after his lover’s suicide and if that’s not an angst ridden plot I don’t know what is. However, because I like Shawn Lane’s writing I thought I would take a chance and I was happy that I did. The author managed not to wallow too much except in one scene where the angst was almost too much for me, but I won’t describe it since I think that the readers should experience it for themselves. The scene may have been necessary to suit the sombre tone of the book and also to put to rest Andrew’s ghost, but I thought it was a tiny bit over the top. However, you might disagree. In any event, the story was engrossing and I liked how Patrick and Josh worked out their relationship issues and identified why things went wrong all those years ago.

The characters were well drawn and it was great that not everyone was gay in this book (sometimes a trademark of this author), in other words it was not an OK homo world, and it was a nice touch to introduce Eddie’s wife into the mix as well as Patrick’s colleague from work who was straight. I did find it somewhat unbelievable that Patrick had not had sex in 3 years even though he felt some measure of guilt over Andrew’s suicide; that’s a long time to be celibate for a young man in his twenties. Also, while I didn’t get to know Josh as much as I would have liked because the story is told mostly from Patrick’s perspective, I thought that his character was written realistically, especially in the last third of the book. Oh, the sex was intense and hot, another trademark of this author. 🙂

If you like a love triangle that is filled with angst, where one of the characters is deceased but very much alive through everyone’s memories, then you will enjoy Pieces. I think Shawn Lane did a very good job on a very difficult theme that is a departure for her, and I can see her growth as a writer since her first book that I read. I definitely recommend this book even if, like me, angst is not your forte. Pieces is available from Amber Allure.



  • I won this book a few days ago and I finished it yesterday. I enjoyed it very much. It was in fact a bit different than the other books from this author and for me the angst theme wasn’t such a big issue.

    • Anke
      I’m so happy that you enjoyed Pieces and, like I said in the review, it was a departure for Shawn – more introspective – although she did manage to have another lawyer as a protagonist. 🙂

      Unlike most readers, I don’t enjoy books that are too heavy on angst because I find that a lot of authors go overboard in this area. However, many readers are fans of angst so I’m definitely in the minority. 😉

  • Glad to hear you think I’ll like it, Wave. 😉 I generally like this author, even if sometimes there might be to much sex for me. *lol* But then most m/m books have to much sex for me these days.

    Maybe this one will have less, considering the theme… *g*

    Anyway, it’s on my TBR list, and I can’t wait to read it. 😉

  • Good review, Wave.

    I do agree with you on the not-having-sex-for-three-years. It is a big eye roll indeed. *lol*

    Still looking forward to reading this book though, besides that fact. 😉

    • T.T.
      I really think you will enjoy Pieces. It’s a more introspective book than I’m used to from this author, which is a good thing. Yes, the 3 years celibate thing I think was to make a point but that didn’t work for me. However, other than this one small ‘blemish’ I really enjoyed the book.

  • Hi Lily
    I think you enjoy angst more than I do so this would be right up your street. 🙂 The 3 years for such a young guy had me doing the eye roll, but other than that it was quite a good read even for someone like me who doesn’t really like a lot of angst.

  • I’ve got this one on my wishlist. Looking forward to it, angst and all.

    But I do agree about the 3 years, sounds like a long time to me. Great review! 🙂

  • Hi Aliens

    Thanks Aliens.
    As for the reason for my comment:
    Patrick is in his twenties, he’s a gay man and typically young gay men have more sex than straight men – two dicks in play and all that – according to my gay friends. Even if he were grieving over Andrew, according to the plot he was never in love with him, (this is not a spoiler since it’s in the blurb), so it would seem reasonable that after a while he would move on and at least seek physical relief from someone else since Josh was out of the picture during those 3 years. Those were my reasons for the comment. 🙂

  • Thanks for the answer.

    I forgot about the not being in love part 😉

    Maybe guilt is a strong enough thing to stop a guy from having sex.

    • Hi Aliens

      Maybe guilt is a strong enough thing to stop a guy from having sex.<<

      As usual I asked my peanut gallery of gay experts 🙂 about this and they thought it was very unlikely for a young gay man in his twenties to abandon sex for 3 years, even if he felt guilty that his lover had taken his own life. Maybe a year but not 3. Also when you add in the “not in love” part, it seems to stretch credibility.

  • Great review Wave!

    I just have one question for you about “I did find it somewhat unbelievable that Patrick had not had sex in 3 years”.

    Why is it unbelievable for you that he wouldn’t have sex in 3 years?


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