Rating: 4.5 starsOriginally posted at http://twlibreviews.com/2012/02/review-the-hearts-greater-silence-by-anne-brooke/In Anne Brooke’s The Hearts Greater Silence we are given a complex story with many layers that is heart wrenching and sad. On the surface, Mark comes off as a greedy, selfish man wanting his comfortable relationship with Craig and his blistering sex with Richard. He needs Richard with an all-consuming emotion I honestly cannot relate to. No way do I get the sense he has the same level of need for Craig. Being with Richard gives him a connection he can feel and the connection makes him feel less alone in the world. Yet sex with Craig is different, it isn’t so good the first time. By the time Mark meets Craig, he has been with Richard for about six months. Mark meets Richard at a function. Richard initiates the sexual contact between them by dragging Mark off to a garage. This should have sent a red flag to Mark, because Richard easily could have invited Mark to his home and avoided the possibility of discovery. It’s not until later Mark will learn Richard is a priest. The feeling Mark has for Richard then is established when they first meet and those feelings happened under false pretension. I wonder why Mark invites Richard to his home when he has never done this before. Sure, he thinks it will be okay because Craig is off seeing friends. Craig doesn’t live with Mark but Mark’s home is accessible to him. Mark loves it when Craig drops by unannounced it makes him feel special. Maybe the answer is simple; he actually thought Craig wouldn't catch him with Richard. Or maybe not.The more I read this short story, the more I’m fascinated with the amount of detail the author squeezed into 31 pages. Every word counts and builds on the narrative allowing us to see what is under the surface. There is more to this story than simply a man who has a hard time keeping his zipper zipped. Mark is obsessed with Richard. Mark is a lonely man. He is also a man who has lost his faith. Why? I don’t really know but I think this fact adds to who Mark is as the story reveals itself. I will admit my anger at Richard. I wanted to disrobe him of his ceremonial vestment and throw him to the wolves. The things he says to Mark are unpardonable but necessary to get out of a dreadful situation. He does convey a sense he is just as affected as Mark, which helped me to soften, just a little, my attitude towards him.Somehow, Mark’s predicament got under my skin and created a great deal of sympathy for him. Experiencing his reactions and his choices, watching him using sex as a substitute for what could be is just heartbreaking. I do feel Mark is in love with Richard but he knows he can’t compete for his affection against Richard’s faith for his God. So he settles for what he could get from both Richard and Craig, passion and comfort. He used both men as a means to balance out his needs. Kudos to Anne Brooke for writing an excellent short story using her great skill at characterization. The Hearts Greater Silence will become available for sale on February 6, at Riptide Publishing.Review prepared at the request of the author.