Author: M. Keedwell
Cover Artist: Gabrielle Prendergast
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/13/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Gay, Historical, Mystery
Love can’t stay buried.
Medical student Cadell Meredith has been known to acquire “volunteers” from the occasional pauper’s grave in order to improve his surgical skills. While the legality of this practice is a bit murky, he wouldn’t go so far as to call it out and out robbery.
His latest acquisition, however, is different. The body on his table was obviously healthy, wealthy—and murdered. Cadell feels compelled to seek justice for the dead man, but while dissection comes naturally to him, crime investigation is unfamiliar territory.
Furthermore, he’s caught the attention of one of those new police officers, Blaine Breton. A handsome, sentimental fool who insists Cadell is a criminal. A criminal! Cadell is the first to admit he’s no saint, but he’s no killer.
A marvelous game of cat and mouse ensues as Cadell seeks to expose the truth while hiding his own secrets. A task that grows ever more difficult as his desire for Breton grows…and the danger deepens.
Warning: This story contains mystery, mayhem, and a male romance that starts off in the most delicious way possible—mutual hostility. Enjoy!
Dark Economy by M. Keedwell is an intense and deliciously protracted murder mystery with an unusual protagonist, a medical student who comes across the crime while performing an illegal dissection of the victim’s body. It’s not an MM Romance in the traditional sense of the word; it’s first and foremost a mystery where the main characters are both drawn to each other and both happen to be gay. The romantic element, what little there is of it, develops slowly and it takes to the end of the story to come to any fruition.
Cadell Meredith is a medical student who engages in a spot of illegal grave robbing. He doesn’t do this for nefarious means but to perfect his skills, hoping it will make him a better surgeon one day. It also allows him to make detailed drawings of human organs for his own study and to sell to supplement his income to get him through medical School. He normally digs up the bodies of the workhouse poor, those who won’t be missed, but when he finds the body of a seemingly healthy and well fed young man among the pauper graves he determines that he has a murder victim on his hands as he finds evidence that the young man was strangled.
As Cadell finds himself haunted by the young man’s fate he decides to investigate his death. Unfortunately he is already under the scrutiny of a local police constable, Blaine Breton who suspects him of murdering the victims he operates on. Blaine has his own personal reasons for hunting grave robbers and tracking the perpetrators down has become an obsession with him. Blaine can’t prove anything against Cadell but he intends to keep a close eye on him in the hopes he can prove his suspicions ideally catching him in the act.
As Cadell finds himself unravelling the life of his ‘victim’ his path often crosses with Blaine and the chemistry between the two men is obvious from the start. The story is told by Cadell so it’s his POV we see and even though he does his best to avoid the detective as much as possible when they do meet its clear that Blaine is as drawn to Cadell as Cadell is to him but both men are too involved in their own agendas to take matters any further. As their worlds collide both men need to decide how much they trust each other and whether they can reconcile their dormant feelings with the world in which they live.
I enjoyed Dark Economy immensely, it was original and intriguing, with likable characters and a mystery with an abundance of twist and turns. I found it entertaining and very engaging. It does have a lot of secondary characters and at times I found they overwhelmed me so it’s a book that needs to be read with concentration so you can keep track of what’s going on and who was who. The lack of a proper romance didn’t bother me in the slightest as I found myself drawn into the mystery. The whole story is well thought out and even though it’s a long book at over 90,000 words the length was justified as Cadell’s investigation kept going in new directions, so much so that I truly had no idea who the murder was, or even why the victim was murdered, until the very end. I must admit I found the medical descriptions quite fascinating in a macabre sort of way, especially the autopsy Cadell does on a young girl half way through the story and it’s very obvious that Ms. Keedwell has done detailed research into early 19th century medicine, and if she didn’t it certainly read like she did!
The ending was very much a Happy for Now and I am hoping we get to see much more of both Cadell and Blaine in the future. Dark Economy is ideal for anyone who loves historical stories with a plot that is as absorbing as it is intriguing, and who doesn’t let a very slow developing relationship put them off.
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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