Author: M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L. C. Chase
Rating: 3.50 of 5 Stars
Cary Talbot has found the perfect mark. Marigold Shelley is filthy rich, and her newly found grandson, Isaac Shelley, is poised to inherit her huge estate, complete with a priceless wine collection. Cary concocts a plan to con both of them into selling the crown jewel of that collection to him at a bargain price. Since Isaac is young, single, and gay, part of Cary’s scheme to get close to the Shelleys includes seduction.
But Isaac isn’t the sheep he appears to be. He isn’t even the grandson he appears to be. Isaac is, in fact, running quite the con of his own.
These two masters of the confidence game are pitted against each other, and both are after the ultimate prize—a chunk of the huge Shelley fortune. It’s only when a third cunning player comes in and is ready to outwit them both that they must band together and beat their opponent or see all they’ve worked for slip from their grasp one ruby-red drop at a time.
Josie Goodreads’s View:
Corkscrewed by M.J. O’Shea is a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable story. Two conmen operating in the place, at the same time, neither knowing about the other, what’s not to like. It reminded me very much of the English TV series Hustle, with Cary as Mickey, sharp as a pin and smooth as polish, and Isaac as Danny, naive, sweet and charmingly shy.
Isaac Shelley is a bit of an enigma. He’s the missing teenage grandson of Marigold Shelley, a wealthy vineyard owner. Isaac Shelley disappeared from the scene of a car accident that killed his parents. Now our Isaac could really be Marigold’s grandson; he doesn’t know who he is, he has no memory of his life before Roman, his mentor and the man who tells him about the missing trust fund kid, took him off the streets when he was barely older than the missing Isaac. Roman has to flee though, another conman known as the Black Mamber is after him, but before he does so he tells him about the missing Isaac Shelley so Isaac can go after the trust fund himself. All he has to do is convince Marigold he really is her missing grandson and he’s set for life.
As well as having a lot of money Marigold Shelby also has a priceless wine collection. Her jewel of the crown is a set of nine bottles dating back centuries called The Nine Sisters. They are what Cary Talbot is after. He comes into play as the Insurance assessor for the collection who hopes to convince Marigold that the bottles are fake so he can buy them from her cheaply, and then sell them for a profit. Sparks fly from the moment Cary and Isaac meet, the only problem is neither man was expecting the other one to be running a con. It’s only when other items of Marigold’s start to going missing, eventually turning up fenced, tracked down by Cary’s tech assistant Jules, that the two men realize a third player is on the scene. As both men become framed with thefts, one after the other, it becomes a race against time to discover who the third person is and why they on the scene as well.
I was drawn into the story from the moment I started reading. What I thought was clever and what really drew me in was how in the opening scene with Roman Isaac is not referred to by name, only as kid, so immediately I was wondering who he really was, and throughout the story I really did think maybe he was the real Isaac Shelley.
It’s very much a fun light hearted story; it’s not dark or twisted in any way. Both men are likable, maybe a bit too much considering they were both supposed to be street wise conmen. The sparks are there between them from the moment they meet but it took me a while to warm to them, their quick romance seemed a little superficial to me, like it had no depth. Both men were such effective conmen that in a way it was difficult for me to believe in them, to work out was real and what wasn’t.
The story is one of twists and turns, the mystery is very well constructed and full of intrigue. I had my suspicions as to the third person quite early on but I never did work it all out and I don’t mind saying the ending was a quite a surprise. The secondary characters don’t really have much to do apart from Jules, I really liked her but I did feel she was far too intelligent to be stuck working with Cary; she could have run rings around him. Marigold as the doting grandmother was sweet but again in a very superficial way. I couldn’t really get into her matchmaking with Isaac and Cary though, that seemed a bit off.
It may sound like I’ve listed nothing but negatives but I did really enjoy Corkscrewed, mainly because the mystery was very intense and compelling. M.J. O’Shea writes a good story and this is no exception, it’s fun, easy to follow, grabs your attention and is full of very hot sex. What more could you want.
I would like to thank the publisher 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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