Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dark Economy by M. Keedwell

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!

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I’m not exactly sure of how to review Dark Economy. I haven’t read many (if any) M/M historical romances, so I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. In all actuality, it was the concept of a graverobbing medical student trying to solve a murder while avoiding the new constable that really appealed to me. The M/M romance aspect of it was simply a bonus, which was a good thing because Keedwell holds true to the era and the historical romance genre by keeping sexual interactions limited despite both parties being men and having no virtue to save for marriage. As a fan of suspenseful historical romances, this proved to be right up my alley.

I have great respect for those people who can perform dissections without issue. For whatever reason, as a psych major I had to take an Anatomy & Physiology course in college and I opted for the one with the least amount of dissection in it. So even though I can’t do it, I found Cadell’s ability to do so and the lengths to which he was willing to go in order to become the best surgeon possible quite admirable. Was the way in which he “procured” cadavers the most appropriate? No. But I understood his ability to compartmentalize what he was doing and appreciated that he went to great lengths to obtain bodies from mass burials rather than disturbing family plots. This distinction is why I agreed with his justification that he wasn’t a graverobber, per se. I was actually quite fond of Cadell from the beginning and when his conscience kicked in once he realized that there was no way the latest body was from the workhouse, I was a total goner for him. Much like Cadell, Breton’s demeanor had me confused – enough so that I went back and reread the blurb because I thought I was wrong as to him being the eventual love interest. That said, Cadell himself kept his inclinations tamped down so well that when he finally has an encounter with another man it was made that much hotter because it was unexpected. Now, now, before you get all up in arms because I seem to be contradicting my earlier statement about limited sexual contact, you should know that the tryst was hands-on only and considering that at the time, men could be hanged for homosexuality, it was the first time in years that Cadell had indulged himself with another man – and at this point he wasn’t convinced that Breton had similar tastes, much less as to whether or not he’d be receptive.

Because the book is focused largely on the murder and Cadell’s attempts to solve it, there is actually limited focus on romance and we are well into the book before we discover that Breton is indeed attracted to Cadell. In an M/F historical romance, this wouldn’t work. But as I said before, in an era when men are hanged for homosexuality, it made sense that there wouldn’t be many romantic overtures, especially from a constable. As an introvert, Cadell thinks about Breton a lot, but his thoughts tend to be lustful rather than the wistful ponderings of a romantic, and this felt right for his character. I liked that rather than turning Cadell into a super sleuth, Keedwell wrote Cadell’s investigative activities like I would expect a well-educated medical student would carry them out. He analyzed the info he had while utilizing his contacts cautiously. I was surprised (yet not) that our budding surgeon was so adept at lock-picking and no qualms with breaking and entering. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Cadell and Breton progress from adversarial and antagonistic to begrudging respect to friendship to possibly more. I liked how the investigation took unexpected turns that kept it from being predictable and I can easily seeing the author expanding this into a series in which Cadell and Breton investigate murders together. Dark Economy was an enjoyable read and I hope to check out more of Keedwell’s writing in the future.

M. Keedwell is a writer of fiction, a reader of books, a painter of pictures, and studied Psychology at uni. She loves delving into character motivations and interactions. She was born in New Zealand, and currently resides in Sydney, Australia. She has a well-loved Husky named Anushka.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Dark Economy by M. Keedwell to read and review.

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