Review: The Flesh Cartel--Capture by Rachel Haimowitz

Tuesday, November 6

Title: The Flesh Cartel--Capture*
Author: Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau
Series: The Flesh Cartel
Genre: M/M Romance/Horror
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Format: E-book
Date/Year:  October 2012
Reviewed by: Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

In this first installment of the exciting new psychosexual thriller, The Flesh Cartel, orphaned brothers Mat and Dougie Carmichael are stolen in the night from their own home. Taken to a horrifying processing facility, they are assessed, microchipped, and subjected to unspeakable brutality—all in preparation for sale to the highest bidder.

In a world where every person has a price, the beautiful and subduable PhD student Dougie is highly prized. His brother, a rough-edged MMA fighter, is less desirable—and potentially too dangerous—but he still has his own appeal.

Abused and locked up under round the clock surveillance, with no idea where they are or even why they’ve been taken, escape seems impossible, which leaves staying together their only hope. And after being separated once by the foster system, they'll do anything to keep it from happening again. Anything at all.

(Publisher's note: This title contains material some may find objectionable or trigger-inducing, including explicit violence, non-consent, and forced incest.)

My Musings:

Take note of the warnings for this book because they aren’t being overly cautious.  The Flesh Cartel is only 75 pages long and it contains some of the most violent non-consensual acts I’ve ever read.  Don’t overlook the forced incest either, it’s harsh.  Another thing to keep in mind, this book is tagged as M/M romance but there is absolutely none of that in this book.  I’m guessing that will appear later in the series, but don’t expect to see it here.

Dougie and Mat are brothers. They’re the only family they have and are very protective of each other.  Dougie is serious, cerebral, and mild mannered.  He’s working toward his PhD and depends on Mat financially.  Mat supports them by fighting.  Despite their stoic facades, they’re both feeling guilty for letting the other one down.  Mat knows that winning every fight is necessary, but he’s struggling as he gets older.  With each loss they’re going deeper and deeper into the red.  Dougie knows everything Mat has sacrificed and longs for the day he can start making good money and finally remove the burden from Mat’s shoulders.

I appreciated that the authors took the time to develop Dougie and Mat so well in such a short book.  I felt I really understood their motivations and I liked them both.  Later it became really important because I needed to see them as real people before their captors tried to strip them of everything which made them individuals.

Once they are kidnapped, that’s when the nightmare begins.  From that point on, it’s a constant string of humiliating and degrading events with the sole purpose of dehumanizing them.  Dougie and Mat have no idea why it’s happening or what their future may hold.  All they know is that they have to survive the hell they have been forced into and hold strong for each other, that’s the only thing that really matters once everything else is stripped away.

This wasn’t as difficult a read as I expected it to be.  Obviously, the situations Dougie and Mat found themselves in were horrifying, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in them enough to make me really feel it.  I was able to maintain a comfortable distance throughout the many, many tortures they endured.  I wish I had been affected more than I was.

If this had been the first few chapters of a book, I would have gladly kept reading.  It’s not though, this is the first of several installments in the series.  I’m not sure this first one was intriguing enough for me to keep going.  I wasn’t left feeling an overwhelming curiosity of what would happen next, I was left feeling unfulfilled and slightly irritated that the first part was so short.  I enjoyed it while reading and I’m very intrigued by it, but I needed a ray of hope.  There isn’t even a hint toward what the future will hold.  I have no idea if this will eventually lead to the possibility of happiness for Dougie and Mat.  I usually hate teasers at the end of books and I’m finding myself wishing I had one now.


Overall: 3.5
Sensuality level: 5 (gang rape, incest)

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