Shattered, Tom Cannon
Suspense, 210 Pages
Tumbleweed Books, 2021
5 of 5 stars
Reviewed by Gloria Johntel,
When Mikey Haskell’s fiancée leaves him, rage and self-imposed guilt continue to build until, at a turning point, he begins to retreat into the animalistic id of his consciousness. Tom Cannon creates an excellent story that is both grotesque and beautiful and outlines the mental breakdown of man and how it affects relationships and the idea of personal responsibility.
Relationships are the whole basis for the story as it centers around Mikey’s relationship with Alaine, a friend from college, and how in love with her he is. This relationship is dampered by the relatable circumstance of Mikey not being able to express his true feelings in a way Alaine will understand. Mikey also had a mildly destructive relationship with himself in the way he chain smokes and eats junk food and gets drunk. He is also overweight and sees that as both a blessing and a curse. However, his lack of self-care and his spiral downward are caused by the internalization of guilt and rage toward his ex-fiancée, Karen, and himself. Cannon expands on all these relationships as well as Mikey’s interactions with others in the world to form a story that captures how easy it is to retreat to primal instincts.
Personal responsibility also plays a huge part in this story. Though it is not necessarily a mantra that the characters use, it is the axle to which the wheels of the story are connected. Mikey’s guilt is partly due to his lack of personal responsibility, or at least responsibility being an undesirable in his life. Once he reaches the point of time where the Animal takes him over, he no longer cares about responsibility, kindness, or even relationships, which is exactly what he needs to pull him out of that state.
For the most part, Cannon’s writing is flowing and easy. It puts the reader in the story, a fly on the wall in Mikey Haskell’s apartment. The only thing that felt clunky about the story was the lack of speech pattern writing/dialectic writing. Some of the conversation felt stilted by this, but only at some points. At other times, this type of grammatically correct speaking worked well. Some of the hazy things that happened in the animal state don’t get fully explained, either, but for the most part, it makes Mikey more interesting. Overall, this book is quick-paced and fun to read even if all of the circumstances within it aren’t easy to deal with.
Reviewer Gloria Johntel lives in southern Wisconsin and is an aspiring writer. She loves to read books of all kinds. She has been writing novels since high school. She enjoys talking to authors about their publishing journeys as one day she hopes to publish some of her vast collection of novels.