Title: The Flesh Cartel #15: Twenty-Five
Author: Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
In the exciting final season of the Flesh Cartel . . .
With the help of the FBI, Mat Carmichael has let himself be re-taken by the Flesh Cartel. Objective? Rescue his brother, exact revenge, and destroy the entire organization from the inside.
FBI Special Agent Nate Johnson will be playing backup, of course, but to get Dougie out alive, Mat will need to make sure his brother is out of Allen’s clutches before calling in the troops. Now that Mat’s back in bondage, though, there’s no way he can do it alone. He’ll have to ask for help from the only man within the Cartel who cares about Dougie’s welfare: Nikolai. And even knowing it will destroy him, Nikolai delivers.
Bringing down the Cartel should have been the hardest part, but it doesn’t take long to realize that the real challenge has only just begun. Dougie doesn’t know how to be free anymore, and Mat is forced to admit that he may no longer be strong enough to help himself, let alone his brother. But with loved ones in their corner and their love for each other banked but not extinguished, Mat and Dougie learn that you can come home again, no matter how desperate the circumstances you’ve left behind.
READER DISCRETION ADVISED.
As with previous reviews of books in this series, this one will be brief in order to avoid spoilers for this episode. Note, there may be spoilers from previous episodes.
As this episode begins, it’s been twenty-five days since Mat’s escape from Paradise Island and twenty-five days of not knowing what repercussions Dougie may be subjected to as a result.
Mat is now under the protection of the FBI and has insisted he be used as bait to infiltrate The Cartel and help rescue his brother Dougie, still alive and being tortured and horribly abused. When their strategy in using Nikolai as an ally proves successful, they begin preparations for Mat’s delivery back into the hands of the brutal Allen and the destruction of The Cartel.
This episode had me in its grasp from beginning to end. Again, as with Independence Day, most of the violence is off-page, and the focus is on Mat’s role in bringing down The Cartel while dealing with the post-trauma of his captivity. I was relieved to see the authors take time to center some attention on that, as it seems that regardless of Mat’s drive to save his brother, he should have serious demons that he struggles to keep at bay. In typical Mat style, he has his issues but is determined to work through them, as his primary directive is to get back to Allen and get his brother out.
There is nothing seen of Dougie in this installment, save for evidence that he is still alive and suffering with Allen, making immediate rescue even more imperative. Instead, the reader is treated to more of Nate and Mat as they form an alliance and dance around each other on a personal level. Mat is damaged and reticent, while Nate remains the consummate professional with a strong desire to protect his ward. The sexual tension created by a mutual attraction that cannot be acted upon is a welcome slice of human compassion and potential romance in a story that has focused up until now on brutality, torture, and degradation.
I want these two to work together to find and rescue Dougie, but I also want them to do the same for Mat. I absolutely adore these characters, and it appears that there is going to be an incredibly difficult struggle ahead as they must overcome personal obstacles and unknown dangers in order to do just that. I am not exactly sure what is in store for our heroes, but it is surely not going to be pretty. Regardless, I cannot wait to read the next episode to see how the plan to take down The Cartel comes to fruition!
I would like to thank Riptide Publishing for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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