Review - "Secret Light" by Z.A. Maxfield
Tense, tight and terrific
Rafe Colman is handsome, slick, personable. He is the top commercial real estate salesman at his agency, perpetually Salesman of the Month. Everybody likes Rafe. But he is a man with secrets. A fraud. And is 1955 Los Angeles, having the kind of past Rafe does can be dangerous. Even more dangerous than being perceived as German, with the hard feelings lingering after WWII.
When his home is vandalized, Officer Ben Morgan investigates what could be a crime motivated by Rafe's Germanic background. When he sees Rafe's dog, it is love at first sight. Then he catches sight of Rafe, and thinks he sees a glimmer, a glint of commonality. But he cannot be sure, and his partner's bigoted comments keep driving home how dangerous it could be for HIM. Because there are no out gay cops. It just doesn't happen.
As the two men become friends, the attraction is there. But the secrets the two men have make this a difficult and potentially deadly dance. But when Rafe is violently attacked, Ben knows he has to do more. Be more. Protect Rafe.
But how? How can he be what he wants to be, have what he wants to have, make Rafe his? And will Rafe be able to overcome his past and trust Ben? Or will the man who has it out for Rafe succeed in his vendetta?
This book takes Z.A. Maxfield into a new ballpark. And she knocks this out of the park. The grasp she has of the times, the fears and tensions, the barely hidden xenophobia and homophobia, the tension that permeates anything and anyone different is superb. How even the hint of gayness could ruin a man forever.
The claustrophobia and tension in this story are choking. And it is sustained from the beginning through almost the last page. Make no mistake, this is a romance and a love story, but DAMN, the tension ratchets up the attraction Makes it feel more intense. Deeper.
This is what happens you let a master at characterization loose in a new area and let her have free reign. You get a diamond.
Take a chance here - this is not what you might expect, but so very much more.