The Flesh Cartel #9: Trials and Errors by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau ~ Review by Christine

I am addicted to the ongoing story of enslaved brothers Mat and Dougie.  Though this series is brutally violent and heart wrenching, I cannot overcome the compulsion to see how it all ends for these characters.
FC9Title: The Flesh Cartel Episode 9:  Trials and Errors

Author: Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

With a wedge at last driven between Mat and Dougie Carmichael, courtesy of Nikolai Petrovic’s expert manipulations, the brothers must each accept their new path forward: Dougie, a perfect slave, sweet and obedient and loving. Mat, a tightly reined dog, snarling and snapping but never allowed to bite.

Unfortunately, no transformation, however well planned, is without its growing pains. Mat’s leash is so tight it’s choking him. Dougie is tormented by a little voice inside his head—a fragment of his former self—that he cannot silence.

And Nikolai’s most difficult tests for the brothers are still to come.

The critical question isn’t whether they can pass those tests, but whether they even want to. Without each other to lean on and live for, a bleak future has become bleaker still. But Nikolai’s too good to let his slaves slip through his fingers—by death or by despair.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: Dubious consent, explicit violence

My View

The torment of the two enslaved brothers, Mat and Dougie, continues in this episode as Nikolai works to separate them further emotionally by escalating their roles in his sick machinations. Dougie, the pleaser, endures more psychological torture in his desperation to please Nikolai, and the battle of wills between Nikolai and Mat ramps up with increasing physical punishment.  A cliffhanger at the end leaves the reader trying to decide if this story ends on a note of hope…. or dread.


In my previous review of Episode 8, I was a bit frustrated by the lack of balance between the brothers’ story lines.  It was good to see that the authors brought both brothers into the spotlight in this episode, though the physical and emotional torture they suffer at the hands of Nikolai is, predictably, sadistic and gut wrenching.  Dougie, however, displays a bit of backbone when pushed too far, which I found to be a refreshing surprise.  Despite the considerably violent and twisted events in this installment, I was relieved to have the opportunity to see the brothers interact.  Their love and loyalty still remain under the thick layer of doubt and pain created by their captor, and I appreciate the authors allowing us to see that.


Overall, this episode was quick but not painless.  The physical and emotional brutality is pretty steady throughout, with very little reprieve for the brothers and the reader.  The ending scene is particularly intense, though for different reasons, and left me breathless.  I will continue on and read the rest of the series, as I simply must find out the fate of these two tortured protagonists.

Buy Links:

Riptide Publishing

I would like to thank the publisher 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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