This was not what I expected at all and I was pleasantly surprised. I expected yet another M/M romance glorifying the porn trade which really angers me. It just isn't a lovely beautiful world where everyone is happy.
Hot Head doesn't glamorize it, nor does it judge it. Instead, Suede paints a very realistic picture of what it would be like for a couple of guys who'd never done anything like this to dip into the world in a safe way but for the wrong reasons.
The two are beyond adorable and very real to me. Often in these books I find myself recycling my image/impression of a beloved character from another novel because so many are so similar. But I've never read a character that feels like Griff, and Dante was original, too. I believed them, I liked that this wasn't overnight for either of them, and I think they're coming to grips with being gay was almost realistic if a little easy. I loved Griff's foray into a gay bar for the first time, I was laughing a lot, and I loved his preconceived notions about what gay men are like.
I really liked how they handled the gay-bashing even if I did think the scene in the bar where everyone loves Tommy a bit unrealistic but it was sweet.
One of my favorite parts was the photo shoot. I love the photographer, how everyone interacted, the banter, the possessiveness, Dante's antics, etc. I want Suede to write a sequel and include this woman in it.
I liked Dante's family, and I love how not black and white Griff's is. His father sucks but he's not evil. That's realism.
The best part, though, was how well Suede handled and integrated 9/11 into the story. He talked about what it was like back then, how it is 10 years later, how the city treated them now, what has changed what hasn't, and how that day will always be part of what it is to be a firefighter in New York City. I like that he mentioned how police officers lost 70 something of their own, too. They were heroes, too, who also went into the buildings to pull people out and they get almost no recognition. I believe being a police officer is one of the most thankless and dangerous jobs on the planet. But I digress.
There was even some danger and what I call peril: fear that someone is going to die and the other person terrified and desperate for them. God I love that. I am so sick.
Anyway, I really want to read more about these guys and hope Suede hurries up and writes a sequel. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 because of the way he handled and integrated the subject of 9/11.