Reviewed by Jenna
TITLE: Mute Witness
AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
LENGTH: 290 Pages
RELEASE DATE: February 9, 2016
The abuse of a little boy turns a community against a loving gay couple, and nobody comes out of it unscathed.
Sean and Austin have the perfect life: new love, a riverfront home, security. Their love for one another is only multiplied when Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason, visits on the weekends.
And then their perfect world shatters.
Jason goes missing.
When the boy turns up days later, he’s been so horribly abused he’s lost the power to speak. Immediately small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. What was a warm, welcoming community becomes a lynching party out for blood.
As Sean and Austin struggle to stay together amidst innuendo, the very real threat of Sean losing the son he loves emerges. Yet the true villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.
1st Edition published by ManLove Romance Press, 2009.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book, but my most prevalent feeling is just being in awe. This is the second gay fiction book that I’ve read this month that really blew me away. Mute Witness takes place in a small town in Pennsylvania. Sean has started a new life with his partner, Austin, and has weekend visitation with his son, Jason. However, Sean’s x-wife has remarried a drunkard. When Jason turns up missing and is found in a bad state, accusations fly and some get hurled in Sean’s direction. After another tragedy strikes, Sean is alienated even further from his son.
There was so much going on in this book and so many plot twists that I can hardly reveal more without giving away too much. However, I must say that though I loved this book, it was quite a difficult read. I find it hard to read anything that deals with child abuse, but this was even more difficult since one of the viewpoints was that of the child predator. It was a bit disturbing being inside the pedophile’s head, but at the same time I think this presented an important social lesson. In this instance the abuser was someone who’d been molested as a child himself. Though the character is written in a sympathetic light, it’s impossible to truly sympathize with him since he makes the choice to perpetuate the cycle by hurting a child. Additionally, Jason’s mother really pissed me off. I disliked her for her ignorance and inability to stand up for what was right. She didn’t seem to think about her son when she remarried, and when she realized she’d married a drunk with a mean streak, she still kept him around. Sean also angered me since he had the means to hire a lawyer and fight for his child, but that never seemed to cross his mind. However the parent’s stupidity doesn’t take away from the story since they are a reflection of what happens too often in real life.
Aside from the amazing plot, one aspect that caught my attention was how the author included multiple viewpoints; making each character sympathetic in one way or other. Since I usually get confused with multiple viewpoints, I have to say that the author pulled this off expertly without distracting from the story in the least. Another aspect that I enjoyed and I found unique was that there were several viewpoints of female characters. I rarely see this in m/m fiction so this was a refreshing surprise. Finally, I love a book that can make me feel, and this book brought me to tears several times. Overall this was a fantastic read and I look forward to reading more from Rick R. Reed. I recommend this book to anyone who loves m/m fiction, drama, and suspense.