Scribner, March 2008, $26.00
In Iraq, John Houck of the Force Recon Company learned about the suicide of his brother shortly before they were to go out on a mission. During their mission, John missed some signs and a car blew up injuring his commanding officer Mike Bowers who jumped on John saving his life but lost an eye in the process. His body will have scars from the injury and it is John’s guilt that doesn’t allow him to pay Mike a visit until long after Johm returns to the states.
When a gift he ordered for Mike arrives he has the excuse to finally see his savior. Entering his home, he finds Mike tied to his bed by both arms, several wounds in his chest. He finds Alex outside and learns they are lovers living together. John takes Alex to see the body, but there is no corpse and the room is clean. When they report it to the police captain Ray Duncan, he makes it plain he thinks that John is suffering from PTSD. Joh takes Alex to his home and when Duncan arrives saying Mike is nowhere to be found and that perhaps Alex is the killer. John notices the handprint he makes is the same as the one in Mike’s room. John feels an affinity to Alex because of what he was to Mike. John teaches Alex how to defend himself but when Duncan does something that enrages Alex, John is afraid he is going to kill the cop and he takes desperate measures to stop him.
This novel packs a powerful emotional punch as it examines the psyches of two damaged individuals who don’t even realize the truth about themselves. John is an interesting complex character, whose brother was gay and Alex a gay man o was afraid of the relationship that existed between Mike and John even though Mike never came out of the closet to John.. This is a great work of psychological suspense but it is also a work that explores the damage people do in the name of love.