The Flesh Cartel #17: Boxed In by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau ~ Review by Christine

Heartbreaking, yet hopeful. That is how I feel about Boxed In, the latest episode of The Flesh Cartel serial.

Flesh Cartel 17Title: The Flesh Cartel #17:  Boxed In

Author: Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

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.


My View

Mat and Dougie are free but remain prisoners of the horrors they endured while in captivity. Unsure of how to negotiate relationships and handle their newfound liberty, they each founder and stumble towards a workable sense of self – and self-worth. As with the most recent installments of The Flesh Cartel serial, Boxed In focuses mainly on Mat as he tries to reclaim parts of himself and to discover what his new purpose is. More frightening, however, is the fact that he now has to worry about Dougie’s recovery, with no idea how to help him.

I absolutely loved this episode, and this review will be brief so as not to divulge too much. It is Mat’s recovery story, or part of it. As I stated earlier, it is full of both heartbreak and hope, and I truly appreciated that it is told mainly from Mat’s perspective. With the few insights into Dougie’s tragic inner dialogue and brief glimpses of his behavior off page, it becomes brutally obvious where Dougie is in the healing process. These two tormented boys have a long road ahead of them, and Mat must take the lead in trying to create a new “normal” for them both.   The authors, without getting bogged down in the muck of the atrocities committed, are still able to portray that the brothers bear wounds so deep and profound that it is clear there will probably never be a full recovery for either of them.   As expected, there is an incredible amount of emotional pain and suffering, both on page and off.  Additionally, it isn’t only Mat and Dougie who are anguished, but also FBI agent Nate Johnson, who now has his own new set of demons to conquer.

It was my sincere hope that these final episodes would focus realistically on the monumental process of healing and recovery for all three of these extraordinary men. Boxed In, I can honestly say, did not disappoint.  The authors do a beautiful job of illustrating that with the blessed cessation of violence and enslavement comes a biting hollowness and a paralyzing self-doubt. Yet the glimmer of hope that remains is brighter with each installment of this series, and I once again anxiously await the next episode.

Buy Links:

Riptide Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon UK

I would like to thank Riptide Publishing for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.


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 #17: Boxed In by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau ~ Review by Christine

  1. I enjoyed your review. I started this series and then realized it wont end until August. So I am now saving the rest until I have the last series so I can read it all at once. I enjoy series but I tend to be impatient for the next book so the waiting is painful 🙂

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