Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Review: Breaking Cover
Breaking Cover by Kaje Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the sequel to Life Lessons and the continuation of Mac's and Tony's story. While in Life Lessons Tony, openly gay teacher, played the major role, it's Mac, deeply closeted detective with the Minneapolis PD who takes center stage here. Which is only right, since it's Mac who has to go through the bigger obstacles here, the biggest certainly being his own insecurities.
A serial killer is loose in Minneapolis, going for blond, promiscuous women. The case has Mac stressed out since he's afraid he has to wait for the next victim and the killer making a mistake to get a good lead. On top of this, as happy as Mac and Tony are together, Tony starts to show hints at how much the secretiveness of their relationship gets to him. But Mac isn't ready to come out yet. With their relationship already strained like this, Mac has reason to fear that it'll take only a little more pressure to fall apart.
This little bit more of pressure comes when Tony suddenly has to fight for legal guardianship over Ben, a boy who he's taken care of for years. With childcare snooping around it's impossible for Tony to hide his secret relationship with Mac any longer, and he won't jeopardize his chance on havein Ben, not even for Mac. Now Mac really has to decide. Is keeping his secret worth losing every chance on a future with Tony? Not to mention Ben, whom Mac has come to love almost like his own child Anna - and Anna loves Ben, too. He can't come off this mess without some skin off his hide, but even Mac himself didn't count on the big boom it'd going to turn out to be. And then the killer strikes again, and everything Mac has fought so hard for is in danger once more.
What can I say, I loved this book. The trope is really nothing new, a closeted gay man fighting to come to terms with himself and his sexuality while figuring out what really counts in his life, but the author took this plot and made it into something beautiful and gripping that I couldn't put down. Add to that a really good mystery plot, and I'm one happy camper.
Normally I don't care much for children in m/m books; usually it's either the happy-family-with-two-dads saccharine or the kids appear tacked-on and superfluous. Not here, though. The children are so much a part of the plot, and the development of Mac's and Tony's story, it couldn't be different. Furthermore, those kids are amazingly portrayed.
Imust admit I liked Life Lessons more. This book is quieter, more focused on the inside of the characters than the outside action in a way (even though plenty happens here!)Still, I can't recommend these two books highly enough. Don't miss Kaje Harper's authentic, distinctive narrative voice and her true-to-life characters.
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