||June 15, 2011
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Hot Head by Damon Suede
a homoerotic romance about love (and porn) in the FDNY
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire...
Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.
Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together.
Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?
Hot Head - an unforgettable love story (JesseWave)
From the ashes of 911 Damon Suede has written a novel that's raw, dialogue that's fresh, a plot that grips you and makes your stomach ache, prose that entices, and characters that are so incredibly complex, flawed and over the top you will have no doubt who wrote Hot Head because the author's fingerprints are all over every page. This book has all the elements I look for in an unforgettable story - drama, human tragedy, family, heart, guts, excitement, the unexpected, and above all, unconditional love.
Reading Hot Head I was transported to the delicious mix of the ethnic neighbourhoods in New York - Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Yonkers, Queens - in all their decaying decadence against the glamour and glitter of preppy upscale Manhattan. The smells and different races living on top of each other trying to make a living and barely doing so were realistic and immediate and I felt as if I were living this story rather than reading it. The city was alive and the atmosphere sparkled underneath the mosiac that made up the Big Apple, but that apple had a worm at its core because of the reality that was 911.
Hot Head is a book you will want to savour. The characters are exceptionally well drawn and New York City with its beauty and flaws is a fitting canvas for Griff's and Dante's romance. Amidst all of this rich history and the daily grind of work, Griff and Dante are two men who have a new reality - they are in love with each other but in their world of firefighters that love is not welcome. Nothing in this book is predictable. The emotions are gritty and raw, the protagonists are flawed, the supporting characters are as diverse as you would ever want to meet in the pages of a book, people get hurt, the writing is mostly great even though at times it's so over the top that I had to admire Damon Suede for having the guts to dare write such prose and dialogue. But the prose is so rich and intense it made me forgive the author's excesses as he writes the way he lives, OUT LOUD!
Everything in the book is on a grand scale with no apologies. Hot Head is more than a romance. It's also part of the Twin Towers aftermath but not in a way that's maudlin. Sure, thousands died when the Towers were blown up but the book did not dwell on what is now history, it embraced it and moved on.
Griff grew incredibly during the book and evolved from the overgrown 6f5 shy, self effacing character with no self confidence into a wonderful man who knew he was loved by the one person who meant the world to him and was the core of his life. He was a contradiction because he was huge in terms of his physical proportions, but on the flip side he was emotional and needy. I could feel the heat and intensity between the protagonists because Dante was no slouch either where his feelings for Griff were concerned. He was like a bright flame that burned at both ends and Griff was the moth. Dante loved danger, embraced it without thinking about the consequences, and lived his life on the edge. However he was the one constant in Grifffs life who took care of him when he suffered from panic attacks for years.
You will love the Anastagio family, especially the parents and Dante's brash sister Loretta. There are too many characters to mention but Tommy Dobsky, a paramedic who almost died horribly in a hate crime, will break your heart, and he's coming back in the next book in the series, Hard Head.
Hot Head is entertaining, vibrant and original, the writing is fresh, the protagonists kick butt, and oh! before I forget, the sex is off the chart!
Hot Head by Damon Suede - one of the best M/M romances I have read (Elisa-Rolle)
Up front, this is one of the best M/M romance I have read lately, even more surprisingly since this a debut from Damon Suede. The author is not new to the M/M crowd and so maybe he socked up a lot of do and don’t about this genre, and he wonderfully displayed them in this novel.
The story is simple but hot as hell, the sex is so good I probably for the first time in a long, long period, read it all instead of “mentally” skimming it (yes, I do that, when the sex is too much, I tend to do my own personal editing/cutting on the scene, without even realizing it). The plot is so romantic that was almost (not too much) bearable, and no, it’s not a complaint: it had that level of romanticism that makes your heart ache good without thinking, all right, that is not realistic. But there was also that right level of sadness, when the author was remembering that telling a story about fire-fighters in New York City is not possible without paying his homage to who died on September 9, 2001.
As I said, there was a certain level of pink glasses perspective, Dante is an Italo-American man coming from a conservative family, but the conservatism of his family was not of the negative shade; the family is tight knit like most of the Italo-American family you heard about, but they were also supporting, and there was no opposition coming from them, on the contrary, Griff, the man Dante loves, is almost like another son to them. There is an hint of trouble coming from their job environment, the NYFD maybe is not “gay-friendly”, but again, the author chose to let the reader know he was aware of the issue, but he also chose to not face that issue now (btw, in many point I had the feeling Damon Suede was taking inspiration from a real-life case, a certain Michael Biserta, firefighter, who got into some trouble since he filmed a blatantly gay video, and then was the star of the NYFD calendars).
The main concept of the story is that, both Griffin and Dante had a scary face-to-face meeting with death during September 11, 2001, and after that nothing was the same. They had to cling to what was safe, and the only thing was the love they had for each other and for “their” family. That love moved from friendship to real love without even them realizing it, and than it was too late, too late to fight it, too late to not acknowledge it. What I really loved of this novel is that both Griffin than Dante are men in one piece, there is no half measures, or you totally love or you don’t love, and when they take a decision, their love is full and complete, without exceptions.
I strongly recommend this novel to all the romance lovers, I’m sure you will love it as much as I did.
HOT! HOT! HOT! (TLAGay.com)
Damon Suede has a surefire hit on his hands with Hot Heads. This book is sexy, fun, hot, interesting and the best book of my summer, so far. Man, I couldn’t put it down. Dante and Griff are a couple of hot firemen/studs that make you want to be in the moment with them. I was picturing what they looked like (in all kinds of situations) all throughout the story. Talk about captivating!
I read a lot, and I do mean a lot of books. This one was far and away the hottest one that I’ve read in a couple of years. You figure something’s going to happen about the lust/crush/love thing that Griff has been harboring for Dante, but man, are you in for a treat when you get into this story. I kept waiting for the payoff when Griff finally shares his feelings with Dante, and I knew from the cover that there would be a twist involving a porn website. Well, when the sparks began to fly, it got really hot in my house.
This isn’t just about sex. It’s about unrequited love; it’s about sexy firemen and how the world stills holds them aloft as heroes after the horrible events of 9/11. It’s about being unsure, pain, fear, tragedy and discovery. But most endearing to me, it’s about friendship, the foundation of a strong relationship. I’m not going to tell you anything else except that you gotta buy it and read it! Guaranteed…
-- Stephen Jackson
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