Author: Dani Alexander
Narrator: Joseph Northton
Story rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Audio rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 5 of 5 Stars
A male prostitute, a mangy cat, a murder and a maniacal 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?
Shattered Glass was such a delightful surprise. I didn’t expect to love it so much. Actually I picked it up expecting it to be enjoyable, but just an ok read. It was a really busy month for me. I had several projects with deadlines and I needed to stay focused on them. I didn’t even have time to actually read a book, I only listened to an audiobook during my commute. So I choose a book that would take my mind from my real life problems, but wouldn’t be too much of a distraction. For some reason I expected Shattered Glass to be such a book. I was wrong. This book was so good, so addictive. I listened every chance I get. My projects suffered, but I have no regrets.
Why I loved Shattered Glass so much?
Humor was probably the only thing from this list that I expected when I picked up this book. Maja from Nocturnal Library said in her review: “If I had to compare Austin with another character, I’d say he’s the male Charley Davidson, minus the paranormal element”.
I agree with her. Main character Austin reminded me of Charley. He has the same sharp sense of humor. It’s his armor, and he hides his problems behind his jokes. He laughs at everyone and everything, himself included. Austin’s inner monologue were hilarious.
Shattered Glass is a character-driven story. Dani Alexander is very talented author. He brought to live two very different multidimensional main characters. I felt like both Austin and Peter were not fictional characters but real people. The author also created fantastic cast of second characters. Austin’s fiancé Angelica, Peter’s “brothers” Cai and Darryl, Austin’s father, his cop-partner. They all, no matter how small their parts were, come to life. And amazing narration by Joseph Northton only added personality to each of them (I’ll talk about the audiobook later).
I absolutely loved the romance in this book. I read a lot of romance, and one of my favorite aspects of romance is build-up. All these surreptitious glances, touches. All this longing. And in Shattered Glass sexual tension was off the charts. The anticipation was so delicious here.
Also one of my favorite tropes is forbidden romance. And in this book the romance is forbidden on so many levels. Firstly Austin is a heterosexual man with fiancée. At first he battles his growing attraction to Peter. Secondly Peter is a suspect and Austin is a cop on his case (another trope I like is romance between suspect and investigator). Add to this the fact that Peter is a former prostitute and I’m sold. I find romance where partners have unequal power truly fascinating (slave and master, prostitute and client etc.). So for me the romance was pure perfection.
Note for those who can’t deal with love triangles: though at the beginning of the book Austin had a fiancé, as soon as he acknowledged his attraction to Peter, he discussed his sexuality with Angelica. So there wasn’t a love triangle here.
Austin’s relationship with Angelica is another aspect of the book I loved. They both act like adults. Yes, Angelica is hurt, but they are still care for each other.
When it comes to romantic suspense I value romance more than suspense. The luck of mystery I can forgive, the lack of romance – no way. More often than not books in this genre heavier on one aspect than the other. But there are gems where you can find both. Shattered Glass is one of them. Dani Alexander delivered not only swoony romance, but also engaging mystery. Plot was fast paced; there wasn’t a dull moment in this book. The last 20 % of the book was a swirl of events. I couldn’t stop listening.
Family and friendship
The author delivered the whole range of relationships here. Austin’s strained relationship with his rich cold father. Peter’s love and need to protect Kay. Austin’s relationship with Angelica. His friendship with Dave, his partnership with Luis. There was also a painful story from Austin’s past that made me cry and broke my heart.
At the beginning of the story Austin thinks about himself as a heterosexual man. His attraction to Peter is so out of left field. As the story progressed Austin tries to come in terms with his sexuality and he is forced to come out as a gay. While this aspect of the story is portrayed with humor, Austin’s struggles felt very real.
This book is very diverse. You’ll find all kinds of characters here regarding their sexuality, skin color and style of life. The author also raises such topic as mental illness. I appreciated that this book is diverse in such natural, not in your face way. Sometimes I read a book with diversity and it feels like the author tries too hard to appeal the public instead of speaking from their heart. I wonder if there is a list of things you should add to your book to make it diverse.
The character of color – check.
The GLBT character – check.
The character with mental illness – check and so on.
While I appreciate that the authors bring light to these topics (we need diverse books); I don’t think that adding a diverse character makes a book a good one. So many times I’ve read books that raised important topics, books with diversity and they fell short for me, they were missing something. But Dani Alexander managed to write an amazing diverse book.
My thoughts about the audio:
Shattered Glass is narrated by Joseph Northton. He is a new to me narrator and I’m impressed with his performance. He made very distinct voices for each character. I especially loved his seductive voice for Peter. He made a great job with accents too. And he really brought to life Austin. I highly recommend the audiobook. I wouldn’t mind to have more audiobooks, narrated by Joseph Northton. Unfortunately I’ve only found one another book.
This book was amazing! I laughed, I cried, I was biting my nails in fear of what would come next. I loved the romance, I loved the characters.
So do me a favor. Go and read Shattered Glass.
I dare you not to love this story as much as I did.