I first met Damon Suede in May of 2017 at the RT Convention Writers Boot Camp, where he was on of the very involved instructors. Then recently at this year’s Emerald City Writers Conference, he taught a master class. Both times I had short conversations with him. But it’s his general presence that is so remarkable. He’s a great speaker and he’s so solid on content. When we were working on pitches and loglines at RT, he would come around to help and you’d give him your basic premise and he’d come up with something genius in like two seconds. (After you’d been struggling for minutes.) He comes from a theater background and is a modern-day entertainment polymath. So I was quite curious to see if he was as good a writer as I guessed he might be.
He is. Hot Head is a well-plotted and very emotionally demanding novel about two male firefighters who have been best friends since childhood. The book is told entirely from the perspective of Griff, who has fairly recently become very attracted to Dante. Griff grew up basically as a member of Dante’s large family, as his mother died when Griff was young and his father basically absconded. So Griff thinks his feelings are very inappropriate and would only cause all sorts of turmoil between him and Dante and in the family.
But then Dante starts down this dangerous path. Looking for some quick money to save his house from foreclosure, he agrees to appear on a porn site. Griff tries to convince him not to but loses that battle. When Dante works on convincing Griff to go on the site, too, for some particularly lucrative “extended activities”, Griff struggles to say no. But he has a hard time saying no to Dante.
What could go wrong? Loads of things. For one, if the fire department finds out, they’re really screwed. But even worse, what could go wrong between Griff and Dante? Everything. You’ll have to read it to see if it does.
As I mentioned, the plot of the novel is satisfying. The secondary characters are also good (Dante’s family, an EMT, and a maybe-kind-of-slimy “businessman”). The choice of using Griff’s point-of-view only is a good one that adds to the tension throughout the book because we can only guess what Dante’s thinking based on what Griff sees. Griff is such a sympathetic character with a whole warehouse of feelings, and the mastery Suede has of the reader’s emotions is admirable. I should mention that this is a very steamy book. Also, this is the first m-m book I’ve read that was actually written by a gay man and the level of detail is interesting and very informative. If you’re looking for that kind of information, anyway. (As a romance writer, I am.)
If you want a very authentic m-m romance, try this one out. I’ve read a few other books from this press, and this one is by far the strongest.