An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?
In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?
Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.
Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.
Hiding Cracked Glass by James J. Cudney is a brilliant sequel to Watching Glass Shatter – the saga of Glass family, each member a complex human being yet realistic and benevolent. All of them are flawed, with secrets that they carry within their hearts but guilt gnaws at them the moment they try to introspect. None of them find life a swinging delight.
Olivia, the grieving widow of Benjamin William Glass buries the secret of her husband in her heart and chooses escapism. She goes to Italy on an extended vacation that had been planned with Ben but his sudden death had convoluted her life. When she returns, another turbulence strikes Glass estate in the form of a letter that becomes the center of discussion. Who has sent this threatening letter and for whom? True to his style, Cudney has created a plot within the plot to keep you guessing by pulling in each member of the family who thinks that the letter is for him or her.
A character driven story, it flows at a steady pace till it hits the boulder of past events, which have been narrated together. They bring the story to standstill and fail to blend in the present. The element of curiosity drowns in the details that each character shares from his POV. None of the characters could evoke my sympathy except Emma, the young sensitive girl who rides the roller coaster of emotions. Matt is still struggling to overcome the roadblocks that had haunted him. Olivia is intuitive enough to dislike the new housekeeper, the moment she sets her eyes on her. Cold, indifferent and haughty Olivia mellows down in this book and takes some sane decisions.
I marvel at the way such a large cast of well-defined characters has been handled to create a gripping story. Thanks to James for providing an ARC to me even before the official release of the book. An enjoyable read.
– Balroop Singh.
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At last I am here. Eyes brimming, I look at the stairs, worn by the vagaries of time but flanked with love by Mother Nature. Do you think you could guess my ecstasy? Never. Not even my soul mate could feel the flutter of my heart. Holding hands we look at the steps as I hurtle back in time and he gently embraces me.
“Thank you,” the words are muffled in my throat. I had yearned for this day. Recurring dreams evoked me to come here. We had planned this visit for ages. A visit I would cherish for the rest of my life. A visit that brought me back to my childhood. I am thrilled that the stairs have not been altered, each one holds my steps – tells a story of those carefree days, each one reverberating the games we played – running up and down, skipping two or four – the center of competition for the children of the house, each one a promise to self.
Time flew and exhilarating on the wings of youth, I went up to university and lost touch with those little moments of sitting on the stairs to share stories of the day, to watch stars and sing songs, oblivious of the world.
Grandpa was a youngster when he admired the construction workers while his dad was away at work. He would rush home after school to see how each brick was laid. He had told us all the stories of getting inspired from the workers he observed. He aspired to be like them. The charm of his stories and his loving face was associated with these stairs. A heart-warming memory.
Emotions overwhelm me as I step on the stairs that nurtured me; that gave a spring to my steps and taught me to climb higher. I did but I left them behind. Almost forgot about them. I sit and share many stories that I had buried into the fissures of my heart and realize how tiny moments are more precious than achievements of life – in fact they mold us. A cheerful and free childhood is a blessing.
The blue door opens and children rush out to play games on the stairs. They look at us curiously as if we were blocking their playground. We stand aside and watch – games never change.
He sits at the beach. Alone, abandoned. The glistening sea seems to mock at him. The horizon is hazy; the beauty of the beach seems meaningless. The shimmer they soaked in sizzles within.
This sea is never going to be the same. Never. It had swallowed all he had, stripping him of his securities. The waves devoured her and he looked helplessly, shrieks died within his parched throat. He could hear them even in his sleep.
Why he comes back each evening – a question that haunts him. His eyes never seem to tire; he watches each wave with the hope of seeing her, mingled in the elixir that endows us with life! Some ironies are so ambiguous.
People passed by, reveling in their rendezvous with waves but he drowned in the aftermath, struggling to come to terms with a life, bereft of all smiles till this girl shook him.
“Want to be friends?”
He looked at her with blank eyes.
“Why are you sitting here alone?”
“I don’t have anybody. I lost my mother.”
“So what? I lost mine too and there are many who don’t have their moms around them.”
“Is your love so shallow?” he grimaced.
“No, I love myself. My therapist told me to make one new friend everyday and smile at him. I’ve learnt to smile.”