Title: Something Shattered
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 181 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
When something inside him is shattered by an act of violence, Caleb Tomas doesn’t think he can ever be whole again.
Police Officer Jesse Martin has lived in the small town of El Jardin, New Mexico, for a decade, but he’s never seen anything like the mysterious man who moves in in the middle of the night. The house across the street from Jesse’s trailer is no longer empty. There’s a puzzle waiting to be solved there, in the form of one sexy, but decidedly different, man.
Bruised and battered inside and out, Caleb Tomas flees to the town of El Jardin in the hopes of escaping the terror that haunts him. Instead, he becomes more of a recluse, scared of everything, unable to get more than a dozen feet past his porch before he panics. His head’s a mess, and he knows he needs help, but that’s a step he doesn’t want to take. It’s easier, safer, to stay hidden away with only his adorable puppy, Loopy, and the bird-murdering cat, Mix, for companionship.
But Caleb can’t help but notice the sexy man across the street, and when Loopy escapes from the back yard, it’s Jesse Martin who comes to the rescue.
And he might save more than one bouncy little poodle, if Caleb and Jesse are willing to take the risk.
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to physical assault.
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.
The blurb is very clear and doesn’t bury the lead here. Jesse Martin is a cop and lives in a trailer across the street from Caleb Tomas. Jesse watches Caleb every day when Caleb ventures outside to get his mail. An act which is getting harder to accomplish every day.
Something happened to Caleb, something terrible, which has caused adjustment disorder and some agoraphobia. The reader gets hints of this terrible thing, this horrible thing, so many hints…but isn’t told what happened until after 65% of the story is over. For me, this had the opposite of what I’m sure the intended effect was to be, I stopped caring so much. When I eventually learned what did happen I actually thought, “That’s all?” Which immediately made me feel like an asshole. Because it is a terrible thing that happens.
It just…I don’t know, I think it got built up too much. I feel like if I’d been let in on it earlier my empathy and sympathy with Caleb would have grown instead of stagnating and fizzling out earlier on. It doesn’t help that the explanation didn’t really convey how bad it was, more like, “This is a tiny overview of what happened without any real details.” and it just felt super dry to me and not emotional and I wanted more details; I needed to be shown more than told.
I never connected with the characters. There was too much going on at a couple of points, which muted the message I think was trying to be delivered as well. Then the ending was tied up too quickly and left me feeling adrift and out of sorts.