The Flesh Cartel #12: Paradise Island by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau ~ Review by Christine

It’s a new ball game in Episode 12, and the rules have changed drastically.  Dougie and Mat’s terror on Paradise Island with their new master has just begun….

Flesh Cartel 12Title: The Flesh Cartel #12:  Paradise Island

Author: Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Mat and Douglas’s time as Nikolai’s wards is finally drawing to a close. Though torn apart by Nikolai’s machinations, their fates are still inextricably entwined: they’ve been sold to the same cruel master, and are united in their desire to go home. But “home” means two different things to the brothers: for Mat, their little bungalow in Nevada, and for Douglas, a swift return to Nikolai and Roger, the only people he believes still love him.

But first they must survive their new master. Smythe Hall is a twisted island paradise where Americans affect British accents and slaveboys dress up as slave girls, all at the whims of the rich and megalomaniacal Allen Smythe-Kennedy.

Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Nate Johnson can’t let the case of the missing brothers lie. He knows it’s a waste of resources to chase ghosts down a cold trail, but after admiring Mathias “Stonewall” Carmichael ringside and at countless afterparties where he was too shy to say hello, he’s determined to solve the mystery and bring Mat and his little brother home.

My View

The sadistic, evil Allen Smythe-Kennedy now owns Mat and Dougie.  Ensconced on the very private Paradise Island, the boys experience a new level of violence, debauchery, and cruelty.  No longer under Nikolai’s care and control, they are both set adrift, struggling with too many unknowns in a frighteningly foreign environment.  They soon learn that all their training could not prepare them for what they experience on the island.

I think I was literally on the edge of my seat during certain scenes in this episode, and one particularly brutal act had me covering my mouth and gasping a breathless “No!”  With the shift in the boys’ ownership comes the harsh reality that they are clueless about what to expect, but it is soon apparent that Allen has a capacity for violence and apathy that stuns them both.  The reader is truly left wondering how Mat and Dougie will handle their new surroundings and survive their new owner.  Allen is a perfectly horrid antagonist – frighteningly reactionary, vicious, and unpredictable.

The boys find themselves in completely different positions in Allen’s mansion, once again separated and serving distinctive purposes.   It was fascinating to see the disparity between their thought processes and how they each work to cope with the sudden change in circumstance.  As Dougie deals with heartbreak and feelings of worthlessness and isolation as he seeks to please, Mat is calculating and constantly vigilant, even as he endures continual brutality and humiliation.  The authors do an exceptional job of placing the reader within the brothers’ heads, and empathy for these two characters is at an all-time high, in my opinion.

I would also like to add that I love the detective story aspect and the character of FBI agent Nate Johnson!  It brings what I feel is a much-needed respite from the boys’ captivity and helps to create a strong surge of hope for their fate.  Nate is thorough, dogged, and analytical as he works to fit together the pieces of the puzzle surrounding the brothers’ case.  His character is engaging and smart, and I found myself continually urging him to keep looking, to find something, to not give up in his determination to solve the troubling mystery.

Yes, things look even more dismal for Mat and Dougie in Paradise Island, but the glimmer of promise that is provided by Nate’s persistence to find them and Mat’s sheer will to survive and escape has only helped to feed my addiction to this series.  Bring on #13!

Buy Links:

Riptide Publishing

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,

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One thought on “The Flesh Cartel #12: Paradise Island by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau ~ Review by Christine

  1. I read the first three books in this series and still haven’t found the courage to continue. And in a twisted way that’s a huge compliment to the authors. They managed to make me care so much about the two men and were so convincing in their descriptions of the horrors they go through and the emotions they feel that I’m just not sure if I can handle more of it.

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