Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
I am not sure one can fully appreciate the feeling of absolute helplessness and fear a person feels when surrounded by attackers set on hurting them because of their sexuality. Bashed not only explores that idea, but does so with such truth and unflinching clarity that the reader is left shaken and affected deeply. Rick R. Reed presents a story that is more than a fictitious tale; it is, in many ways, his reality as a gay man. However, I do not think that he is simply detailing a horrific incident that befell two gay men, no, I believe the author is casting a critical eye on hate crimes of all kinds. Reed uses this example as a warning, of sorts, that there exists in this world deep-seated intolerance for any who step outside what is deemed the “norm.” Bashed is a powerful tale of love, loss, and learning to live again.
Donald had met the man who he was his soul mate in many ways. A man who made him feel complete and loved. While Mark was younger than Donald, he possessed a single-minded loyalty and fierce affection for the older man. Theirs was a happy co-existence with a bright and passionate future ahead until they left a bar late one evening and ended up on a secluded street. Little did they know that the car carrying a bunch of homophobic bullies had followed them to their quiet parking spot and were intent on doing them harm.
What follows in the story is a visceral and disturbing attack that leaves one man dead and the other irrevocably changed. Without giving away too much of this incredibly well-written story, suffice it to say that a good portion of this novel then focuses on both the survivor’s heart-wrenching attempts to put his life back together and move on from the devastating attack. But Reed does not stop there. He draws us along this frantic ride of a tale by also showing us the lengths to which the psychotic basher will go to silence the remaining witness to his crime. Along the way, a young boy who is torn between the thrill of being accepted and liked by his criminal friends and the love he has for his own family will make one mistake after another with devastating consequences.
Bashed by Rick R. Reed is an amazing novel that dares to question why we allow such hatred and intolerance to exist in a world where everyone should have the right to be the person they were intended to be and to love the way in which they were born to do so. There is definite loss and wavering hope in this novel, but there is also amazing strength and potential joy in the future. This is a story of survival and love and one that should not be missed! I highly recommend Bashed by Rick R. Reed to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.