Watching Glass Shatter, an October 2017 publication by blogging friend, James J Cudney, is a darned good read. It is his debut novel, but at least one more is almost ready for publication, Father Figure.  If you like stories about the complexities of families, you’ll LOVE this one. With the unexpected death of Benjamin Glass, father of a family of five boys, we watch the Glass family shatter and try through the efforts of Olivia, Ben’s widow, try to mend itself. Olivia herself, shattered more than any widow would be, is  further devastated by a confessional letter from Ben left behind.  His “secret” involves one of their five sons, but the letter does not reveal which one.

Olivia decides to visit each son, in his home, as she tries to make sense of the letter and determine “which one” the letter refers to. Unknown to Olivia, each grown son has been keeping a secret from her and the family. Irony abounds, and I kept turning the pages to find out more answers and satisfy my curiosity.

Cudney’s characterization is excellent, and I came to care about all six of the major characters. (I had no trouble keeping the characters and secrets “straight” because of the author’s transitions and format of the chapters.) Each son is very different from the others (true in all families), yet the love and sense of family they all come to feel is heartwarming.  Cudney’s word choices and phrasing are spot-on as well, sweeping the reader along in the action while the reader enjoys the appeal of the writing.

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, not because the writer is a blogging friend (I bought the book), but because, as a serious reader, I enjoy good writing, fine characterization, and a darned good read.