Title: Mute Witness
Author Name & Publisher: Rick R. Reed (DSP Publications)
Publication Date & Length: February 9, 2016 — 290 pages
Sean and Austin have the perfect life. Their new relationship is only made more joyous by weekend visits from Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason.
And then their perfect world shatters.
Jason is missing.
When the boy turns up days later, he has been horribly abused and has lost the power to speak. Small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. Sean and Austin struggle to maintain their relationship amid the innuendo and the very real threat that Sean will, at the very least, lose the son he loves. Meanwhile, the real villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.
Jason is the son between Sean and Shelley. It seems that before Sean realized that he was gay, he tried very hard to fit in to the stereotype of straight. When Jason goes missing, not only is Shelley able to rely on Sean, but also on Sean’s partner, Austin.
While this book’s synopsis makes it out to be community based hatred, I didn’t really get that feeling. I always felt the insider-job that this book so easily portrayed instead. Reed did an amazing job at writing a villain who the reader could hate, as well as family who was just as easily the culprit in allowing someone so close to this family to hurt Jason.
I really liked how Shelley was able to stand up to those around her who wanted to destroy her family. Once she realized that she had surrounded herself with people who didn’t support her, she was able to pull away and stand on her own.
Then, you have Sean and Austin’s relationship. It’s both sweet and complicated. I really was saddened by their struggle, but knew that Reed would not leave me hanging, in terms of why Sean and Austin were struggling. Their love was so strong, but with outside forces trying to change their relationship, it was easily broken down.
The love that Sean has for Jason is outstanding in this story. He is patient, kind, understanding and protective of his son. Ultimately, he wants what is best for Jason. I love how we were able to see the progression of what Sean was going through internally while with Jason.
This story is both heartbreaking and heart warming. It shows that the love of a parent and child is unbreakable and that true love of family, any kind of family, is unending and forever bonding.
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Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
Author’s GoodReads Page