The Flesh Cartel #10: False Gods by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau ~ Review by Christine

It is hard to believe that Dougie and Mat’s imprisonment and abuse could get much worse.  Well, believe it.

Flesh Cartel 10Title: The Flesh Cartel #10:  False Gods

Author: Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

With a wedge at last driven between Mat and Dougie Carmichael, courtesy of Nikolai Petrovic’s expert manipulations, the brothers must each accept their new path forward: Dougie, a perfect slave, sweet and obedient and loving. Mat, a tightly reined dog, snarling and snapping but never allowed to bite.

Unfortunately, no transformation, however well planned, is without its growing pains. Mat’s leash is so tight it’s choking him. Dougie is tormented by a little voice inside his head—a fragment of his former self—that he cannot silence.

And Nikolai’s most difficult tests for the brothers are still to come.

The critical question isn’t whether they can pass those tests, but whether they even want to. Without each other to lean on and live for, a bleak future has become bleaker still. But Nikolai’s too good to let his slaves slip through his fingers—by death or by despair.

A noose, a nighttime sky, a shared lover, an unexpected friend. A foreboding forest cabin. A lavish party with all the debauchery Nikolai’s clientele could want. It’s all coming in season 3 of the Flesh Cartel.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: Drug use, dubious consent, non-consent, explicit violence, heavy kink.

My View

Writing lengthy reviews for the episodes in this series is difficult without including spoilers and too much information.  These stories are short, intense, and terrifying, and my reviews of each will remain as brief and concise as possible while hopefully providing enough thought and detail for potential readers.

After an unsuccessful escape attempt, the brothers find themselves right back in the evil clutches of Nikolai in The Flesh Cartel #10:  False Gods.  The resulting punishments and tests exceed anything the boys have endured before as boundaries are pushed and breached, leaving the reader cringing and internally begging for mercy for these two heroes.

Dougie’s internal conflict is laid out in painful detail as he struggles to make sense of what he wants.  His brainwashing nearly complete, there is one small thread of the old Dougie left to tug at his conscience, one tiny piece of Dougie’s soul that still cries for freedom.   Even as Nikolai doles out the unthinkable consequences, Dougie once again falls victim to his perceived need for his master, for his love, for his control, for his acceptance:

       “Part of him wanted Nikolai, craved him- needed his master to give meaning to the suffering he knew would come, to care enough to oversee his punishment, to watch his penance and the moment when he’d at last repent and mean it.  Hold him after.  Welcome him home.

      But the rest of him – the part his…brother had shaken so forcibly awake tonight – was sickened by that thought.  Terrified of its sheer inevitability.  Maybe if Nikolai wasn’t here, Dougie could keep his head, not give in, suffer without letting it change him.”

The distance between the brothers continues to grow as Nikolai’s further punishments bring more degradation, humiliation, and blame.  Isolated from one another again, the brothers continue to be manipulated and brutalized, both physically and mentally.  New characters are introduced and add dimension to the cruelties endured, while Dougie sinks deeper into his desperation to please and regain Nikolai, and Mat is swallowed up by guilt over his brother’s torment and his abject loathing for his captor.  When Dougie becomes Mat’s worst nightmare, it seems that perhaps all is lost. The horrors just worsen in this episode, not only widening the chasm between the two brothers, but also keeping the reader breathless in disbelief and cradling broken hopes.

Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau continue to amaze me with their ability to push boundaries and write depravity that somehow work together to pull me further into this series.  These authors hold me steadily in their palms with their vivid, explicit descriptions and their captivating characters.  Instead of turning me off, they manipulate my sympathies for Dougie and Mat, compelling me to keep reading, as the characters and their fate have become so important to me.   I have said before that this series is not for everyone, and this particular episode takes the torture and non-consensual sex to even higher levels.  I would strongly suggest visiting the publisher’s link and reading the warnings posted there for more information.  It most definitely is not for the faint-hearted, but I recommend it to those who can handle dark and depraved torture and heavy kink elements and enjoy twisted, over-the-top psychological thrillers.

Buy Links:

Riptide Publishing
Amazon

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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