Monday, February 15, 2016

Blog Tour ~ Mute Witness by Rick R. Reed ~ (Review, Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Blog Tour ~ Mute Witness by Rick R. Reed ~ (Review, Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)


TITLE: Mute Witness

AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed

PUBLISHER: DSP Publications

COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson

LENGTH: 290 Pages

GENRE: LGBT, Mystery & Suspense

RELEASE DATE: February 09, 2016

BLURB: 2nd Edition

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.


IT WAS one of their rare lazy evenings. Summer, and the evening air was fresh and clean after an afternoon thunderstorm, with just a hint of a breeze. Normally, Sean and Austin were so busy that if they weren’t trying to change something about the little Cape Cod on the Ohio River they had bought a year before—adding a deck, putting in a new kitchen, stripping away years of white paint from the woodwork downstairs—they were too tired to do anything but crawl into bed and pass out, usually before eleven o’clock. Lovemaking, since they had bought the money- and-time-sucking house, had become relegated to weekend afternoons and the occasional early morning.

But today, Thursday, had been an easy one. Austin had called into work—the Benson Pottery, where he was a caster—and taken a mental health day. Things had just been too damn busy lately, and he needed the break. Waiting until Saturday was out of the question. Sunday seemed further away than the next millennium.

Sean, a reporter for the Evening View, the local thrice-weekly compilation of ads sandwiched in with a little editorial, had the day off. The couple spent the day in Pittsburgh, at the Andy Warhol museum, then had an early dinner at the Grand Concourse (the best paella on the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers), beat the brutal thunderstorm home, made love (acrobatically, in the kitchen, atop a butcher block), and now the two were curled up in front of the TV. Sean had rented Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and, after a bowl of Jamaican and a couple of vodka and tonics, the two were teary-eyed with laughter.

Sean looked over at his younger boyfriend and thought how lucky he was to have found Austin, especially in a town the size of Summitville, where the population hovered just above ten thousand. Even better, Austin was his fantasy man, with a broad, beefy body that his mother and her friends would have called strapping, sandy blond hair, and the bluest eyes he had ever seen. When Sean first met him, he thought Austin’s eyes had to be fake, enhanced by those tinted contacts that never looked real. But he found quickly that the young man was simply blessed with arresting eyes to go along with his broad shoulders, dimpled chin, and infectious smile. He wore that smile right now, coming down from a fit of inappropriate laughter after hearing Elizabeth Taylor tell Richard Burton something along the lines of “I’d divorce you if I thought you were alive.”

A sick sense of humor was yet another thing the pair had in common.

It was what they both would have agreed was a perfect day. Well, Sean might have had one more item to add to the “perfection” list. Having his son, Jason, around for at least part of the time would have been all it would have taken to make the day ideal, but these days, Jason was for the weekends only.
In any case, this was close enough to nirvana. He closed his eyes and let his head loll back on Austin’s shoulder.

Sean was just thinking about slowly undressing Austin and then leading him into the bedroom for round two when the phone rang. Its chirp startled both of them out of the cocoon of warmth that had surrounded them, a cocoon built from good sex, supreme relaxation, and the afore-mentioned Jamaican weed.

Austin said, sleepily from under Sean’s arm on the couch, “Don’t get it. Please don’t get it. Just let the machine pick up. I don’t want to talk to anyone. And I don’t want you to, either.” Sean eyed the little answering machine next to the cordless, wondering when they would enter the twenty-first century and use voice mail like everyone else. But, unlike voice mail, the machine did allow them to screen calls, and for two men who appreciated their privacy, this feature had voice mail beat all to hell.

Sean let the phone ring its customary four rings, although his tendency would have been to answer it. But if this would make Austin happy, then he was willing to do it. Especially since he had things in mind for Austin that did not involve the telephone. Things that would erase their fatigue and perhaps keep them up the better part of the night. Sean grinned.

On the fourth ring, Sean pressed the pause button on the remote control and sat up straighter to listen.

“Whatever it is, it can wait,” Austin whispered in Sean’s ear, flicking his earlobe with his tongue and giving his crotch a playful squeeze.

And then the moment shattered.

Shelley’s voice, almost unfamiliar under the veneer of tension that made it higher, quicker, came through. Shelley and Sean had been married once upon a time and their union had produced Jason, the best little boy in the world. As soon as Sean heard Shelley’s voice, he thought of his son, who shared his dark hair, green eyes, wiry frame, and his fascination with stories.

“Sean? Sean, I hope you’re there. This is important. Please pick up.” There was a slight pause. “It’s about Jason. He—”

Before she could say anything else, Sean sprinted for the phone in the entryway. “Shelley? Sorry, I was…”

“Jason is missing.”


*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***

Sean and Austin are starting their lives together in a small town, only made better by Sean's eight-year-old son, Jason, who visits them on the weekends. Then, one day their world shatters when Jason is kidnapped and appears a few days later having been abused so much, he loses the power to speak. The small town immediately point their fingers towards Sean and Austin, and make trying to find the real culprit even harder. 

I can't even begin to imagine how hard going through such a horrible experience like this might be. Everything from the abuse to the narrowmindedness of some people could have been taken out of the pages of any newspaper lying around. I have to give props to the author for presenting everything that Sean, Austin, Jason and Shelley had to deal through the story in a realistic manner. 

It wasn't an easy read for certain, but it was well-written, full of intrigue and suspense, with an engaging storyline and I guess that despite the heavy theme, all that ends well is good enough for me. 

Rating: 4 Stars

What was your inspiration for Mute Witness?

My inspiration, really, came from real life. No, I didn’t go through the horror of having my child abducted or abused. Nor, thankfully, did I grow up abused. I’m grateful that’s a pain I can only imagine. But like Sean, the father in Mute Witness, I do know what it’s like to fear never seeing your child again, just because you’re gay. Back in the early 90s, when I was going through my divorce, I faced the possibility of not having visitation with my six-year-old, solely because of my sexual orientation. The terror I felt at losing my young son simply because of who I loved was immense and I believe that the seeds of the book began in this experience.

Taking into account the book deals with child abuse, how difficult was it for you to write about it?

The abuse of the innocent is always hard to look in the eye. I can’t stand seeing children or animals abused, probably because they are so vulnerable and defenseless. That was a hurdle I knew I’d have to come when I wrote this story. I needed to face the horror of the subject matter and to work through it in order to tell a story in which readers would come to see that, in the end, love is truly redemption and healing. Sometimes, you need to travel through some very dark territory to get to the light, but I believe the journey is even more worthwhile because of the contrast.

What are your favorite qualities about each of the main characters?

Sean, the father in the book, reminds me of myself as a young father. He’s very committed to his young son, and is racked by the guilt of his late acceptance of his homosexuality and feeling he needed to leave his wife and young son to be himself. He aches for the pain his lack of acceptance of himself caused others. I felt that, too. And right along with Sean, I rejoice in his relationship with his son and his new partner, Austin.

I also like the young mother and Sean’s ex-wife in the story, Shelley. She’s a true underdog, a strong single parent fighting valiantly to make a life for her little boy with very limited means. A mother’s love is a powerful thing and I put all of that love into Shelley. She was far from perfect, but I think she was real. And you care about her.

Jason, the little boy, was modeled of course after my own son. He’s smart, willful, vulnerable and sweet. Your heart will go out to him.

Can you share a bit of your upcoming projects with us?

Of course! I have a bunch of things coming up and the soonest are:

BIG LOVE (Coming from Dreamspinner Press in early April)
Here’s the blurb:
Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally faces his attraction to men. Into his life walk two men who will change everything. He can’t deny his feelings for teacher Seth Wolcott, who is beginning his life anew. And bullied but out and proud freshman Truman Reid shows Dane what it means to love yourself, in spite of all the obstacles the world throws at you.

Coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak and falling in love…. The first day of school is the start of a truly life-altering year for the three men, who are about to start a new journey together.

And in August, my collaboration with Vivien Dean comes out, entitled STRANDED WITH DESIRE. Here’s the tentative blurb:
After he receives a mysterious message from his CFO, Maine Braxton heads back to Chicago from Seattle with his assistant Colby LaSalle during ominous weather. Their private plane crashes, leaving them stranded in the Cascade Mountains. They begin the trek back to civilization, with Maine determined to be a better man in light of his survival and Colby doing everything in his power to protect his boss without revealing the fact that he's in love with him.

Along the way, they share a night in an abandoned shack, fend off grizzly bears, and get caught in a mudslide that nearly kills Maine. By the time they are rescued, Maine confesses he's spent his entire life in the closet and that, in spite of having strong feelings for Colby, he can't abandon the life or fiancée he has back in Chicago. Both men are treated at the hospital, where Maine is confronted with the reality of what he's gone through and how much Colby has done for him. He decides to come out and break it off with his fiancée when they return, a decision he shares with Colby, but then must do it face to face with her when she shows up unexpectedly at their hotel.

Back in Chicago, Maine's power-hungry younger brother Hart finds out about Maine and Colby and threatens to expose him if he doesn't step down. Maine one-ups him by confronting him with the knowledge that Hart was the one who caused the plane crash. Maine comes clean with his company's board, finally allowing him the freedom to be the man he 's always wanted to be, with the man he wants to share the rest of his life with.


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). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. 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."

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Winner’s Prize: E copy of Rick R. Reed’s psychic thriller - THIRD EYE


February 9: Prism Book Alliance

February 10: Gay Media Reviews

February 11: Divine Magazine

February 12: Love Bytes Reviews

February 15: Bayou Book Junkie

February 17: The Novel Approach

February 18: Diverse Reader

February 19: Joyfully Jay


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