Damaged by Ethan Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Finding "the one" is something Zane Davis never expects to happen. When he falls for the geeky prison case worker, Brett Emerson, it's a surprise to both of them. Because Brett is engaged to be married to woman and Zane doesn't think Brett is his type. This story could be just a sweet m/m romance but it is so much more. Mr. Stone crafts a well-written suspense while two men grapple with their forbidden desires.
Mr. Stone once again does an excellent job of showing the difficulties of being gay in a working profession which is against it. He makes good points about how sexuality shouldn't be a factor for doing a good job, yet somehow, people think it's their business. The way Mr. Stone clearly demonstrates how gay men fear to be ousted from the closet is hard to witness. As a reader who cares not for sexual orientation, it is a good reminder that in the real world, many people are not as openminded. Private lives are ripped apart by narrow-minded assholes. What is more alarming and realistic is how Zane's professional ability is called into question because of his sexual preference. This is very frustrating and Mr. Stone does an excellent job of showing how it can play out in real life. Now in this story, it works out. In real life, I'm not so sure it would be quite this easy.
The plot of this story is well-written. Mr. Stone creates a good suspense story with clues and detective work. This makes the book more meaty and enjoyable. It's not a fluffy angsty romance. It's a well-constructed mystery complicated by personal matters. The blending of the romance to mystery is done seamlessly. Mr. Stone is quickly becoming the author to read for m/m contemporary suspense.
What is so good about this book is that even without the m/m conflict, the book can easily stand on its own. The addition of the m/m romance adds a layer which increases the complexity and enjoyment. It also makes the reader think and try to figure out who is the perpetrator and why they want to cause trouble. This book is recommended to m/m romance lovers who enjoy a good suspense.
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