Title: Shattered Glass
Author: Dani Alexander
Cover Art: Dani Alexander
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: Shattered Glass
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Crime / Thriller
Rating: 4.5 out 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Somehow this book forced me to believe in the very unlikely and enjoy all of it’s frantic, fascinating and tangled action.
Blurb: A male prostitute, a mangy cat, a murder and a maniachal mix-up that threatens his career, his impending marriage and his life. Nothing is going as planned for Austin Glass.
Austin – seems to have it all. At least on the surface. A loving fiancee. A future with the FBI and a healthy sized trust fund. He also has a grin and a wisecrack for every situation. But the smile he presents to everyone 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 someone who immediately sees him better than he sees himself.
As events unfold and Austin’s world unravels, he finds himself pushed into making quick life-changing decisions. But can he trust Peter or what’s happening between them when each meeting seems to be just a series of volatile reactions?
We join police detective Austin Glass on his very wild ride to self – determination in this crazy page turner with more revelations than the last book of the New Testament. While I found some flaws in this book, it could not be faulted for it’s energy or the often fascinating and frustrating characters that join him on his sexual and emotional road trip.
The humour of his first person narration doesn’t leave the reader detached but rather in combination with Austin’s default position of over thinking allows us to understand far more about his personality, slowly revealing his defense mechanisms.
Instead of lies, I used off-colour humor to make the truth sound ridiculous, So I didn’t have to lie.
I particularly liked that not only was Austin’s personality with all it’s complications revealed gradually, but also that he – not without some rebirth pains- developed as a character throughout the story. The book is called Shattered Glass for a reason.
Dani Alexander’s ability to sell this complicated emotional coming out fell only a little short of the miraculous. I started in the first instance of Austin meeting Peter and the bunny slippers thinking….. ‘um not sure about this’,…. through to…..’okay’ …..and then…. ‘I understand’ …. to finally……. ‘yes, got it and yes I believe in it! ‘ I loved Austin and Peter’s tortuous and funny relationship.
Unfortunately my bumpy road to understanding the pin-ball plot with it’s ups, downs and occasional earth tremor was a little less satisfying. The combination of people trafficking, prostitution, rape, murder, witness protection, police informants, Russian and Albanian mafia, corruption, the FBI, with mood and neuropsychiatric disorders and a present time scale of a couple of weeks with one of years in the past was exhausting.
I don’t know if the writer’s picture of police procedure was accurate or not. Purely from my experience of crime novels some things like the partnership between Luis and Austin felt believably familiar and I liked the details of the daily grind of detection. The court procedure and bail conditions seemed very real. These aspects did help to partially ground the whiplash effect of the multifarious story lines.
However my main problem was the incestuous involvement of so many of the characters; everybody and his cat was in the book for some entangled reason. Every time a new detail about a character was revealed it tended to come with an ever expanding shock. These unexpected details did prevent the characters becoming static, as we generally found out -albeit with ever increasing drama- more about them as the story went on; but this tactic was really really over used. After a while my surprise switch fused.
Dani Alexander’s secondary characters such as Cai and Darryl were lovingly imagined and I enjoyed all the interactions of their splintered, precarious and painful lives. Much of the detailed information revealed about Austin’s family and friends, especially the awesome Angelica was of real benefit in increasing the attachment I felt to Austin, who was not always an easy character to unconditionally like- for instance his overuse of the word whore became irritating as it quickly passed the function of self defense. However he does show some very endearing qualities – his attitude to children, loyalty and careless generosity.
So in conclusion, this self published novel was a fast paced, fascinating and frustrating tangle of events. While I found the writer over addicted to the shock tactic of sudden revelations; from small but vital character details to huge plot ramifications- I did become partially intrigued by what stunt the author would pull next. For me the complex relationship between Austin and Peter was the most satisfying and unexpectedly believable part of the book, which in spite of my reservations, I thoroughly enjoyed.