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Publication Date: August 21, 2014
In a shooting rampage, Monroe Song’s husband took several innocent lives including three of her sons. In the wake of the devastation she is less living life than managing to stay alive. Involving herself with a 24-year-old is perhaps not her best option, especially when her surviving son needs her so desperately. “Like Shards of Glass” is a tale of love, loss, betrayal and murder.
The author, R.H. Ramsey, gave me a copy of this novel as an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for my review. Content may have changed between the copy that I received and the date of publication.
Ramsey said that “Like Shards of Glass” was a short story that took on a life of its own. In reading this poignant and emotionally insightful story, I wondered where she had planned to stop. Any missing piece of this complex and tragic tale would have been a loss. Ramsey alternates P.O.V. between Monroe, the twenty-four-year-old Dominique and Monroe’s surviving son, Karter. The first hand perspective of each player gives us his or her unique view on his or her past and present and soul deep fears and sorrow. There’s a sense, especially from Monroe, of being so far gone that even a glimpse of one day living above the tragedy is just something she cannot bring herself to hope will happen. As usual with Ramsey’s work, the inner workings of the characters are profound and perhaps rather inevitable. “Like Shards of Glass” takes Ramsey into the thriller genre illustrating that this author clearly owns whatever she wants to write.
Monroe is a deeply complex character. She was trapped in a relationship with a man on the edge and when he cracked; he did it in the most devastating way possible. Along with survivor’s guilt, there is a wave of pain rolling off of Monroe whenever we meet her. The character’s curse is that Carter left her to live. http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/07/02/like-shards-glass-r-h-ramsey/
An excerpt from my new novel, Like Shards of Glass (Chapter 1)
My eyes wandered the body before me: up, down, side to side. Monroe's eyes were ovoid, pinched closed at the outer edges like art. The color of honey and copper was her skin. She was not curvy like most of the women who caught my eye; she was nearing rail thin. But her breasts were voluptuous, and teasing me beneath long black hair. Even with minimal make-up, she was the type of woman to drive men insane; mostly because we couldn't figure out what it was about her. Heads turned when she entered the room; I had even caught my father finding reasons to look at her and ask her meaningless questions, like: “Where did you want this, again? Was this box fragile? Do you want me to take that for you?”
And as we stood in the quiet of her bedroom – the otherworldly garden, I wanted to say something, and fill the silence between us. I told myself to breathe deeply, as I could feel the heat building within me, and at any moment, I would give myself – I was mortified, intimidated. But her eyes lulled me. I wanted inside her mind.
I drank more, took her in, and wanting to remember her just as she was in that moment, confounding and breathtaking, I memorized her. She had changed into a pair of silk pajamas, nearly the same shade as her skin. There was no bra, and although it was a warm August night, I could have sworn she had caught a chill.
She set her drink down on the mahogany dresser, and I exhaled.
Finally, someone had moved.
“Oh! I almost forgot. I want to pay you back.” She reached for her purse. I wanted to stop her. “How's fifty?”
Fifty what? Fifty for what?
I set my glass down beside hers, and shook my head as she took a fifty dollar bill from her wallet.
“Use it for gas or lunch money.”
“What are you talkin’ about?”
“The boxes and suitcases. I'm not gonna let you just –”
Lunch money? What?
I tilted my head as I spoke. “I wanted to help you.”
“Your parents made you.”
“I'm twenty-three years old; they can't make me do anything.”
Monroe looked as if she wanted to laugh, but instead of making me feel even more like a child, she stepped closer to me. Her eyes traced over me as she reached for my pocket, opened it, and slid the money inside.
You win – and in which pocket was the letter I had stolen?
“Take it, Dominique.” Her hand lingered in my pocket for a millisecond too long. She stood on her tiptoes. “Just take it.” She pressed cold, cordate lips to my cheek and whispered, “Goodnight, and thank you.”
Like Shards of Glass (excerpt)
Beauty, pain, drugs, sex: repeat. Monroe Song, who considers herself nothing more than the wife of a terrorist, is struggling, failing, and drowning, trying to find her place in a world that has left her at the brink of insanity: Her husband, Carter, has opened fire at a mental health facility, before turning the ruthless gun on his sons, then himself.
Emptied wine bottles, and pills which bring her no relief or comfort, drive Monroe into the arms of Dominique, a man half her age, who offers her the perfect anecdote for her brokenness.
Monroe's oldest son, Karter, once idolized his father. Karter is now haunted by his father's face, words, and the massacre that is now his family legacy.
If Karter's hero is a monster, a terrorist, who brutally murdered innocent people, what does that make Karter?
How can Monroe and Karter move forward when life has forgotten them? Then, again, with everything so distorted, why not spiral with the storm?