Title: Dark Economy
Author: M.A. Keedwell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Genre(s): Historical, Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by: Alissa
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
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.
Cadell Meredith has a secret. A secret that could have him jailed and sent to the hangman’s noose. How does a dedicated medical student find himself engaging in the activity of grave robbing? It’s not valuables he seeks but knowledge of the human body. However, Cadell gets more than he bargains for when he discovers one of his “volunteers” is a victim of murder. And to complicate matters even further, Meredith has caught notice of a local constable who suspects he is responsible for the recent disappearance of bodies. Cadell plays at amateur detective when he takes it upon himself to find out the identity of the victim. His activities have him crossing paths with the constable more than he would like. Taking risks he wouldn’t normally engage in.
Constable Blaine Breton has dedicated himself to stopping the illegal selling of cadavers. It’s a personal vendetta. When his mother died he was too late in claiming her body before it was sold for “research”. It’s a painful memory. He begins investigating the recent disappearance of bodies in local cemeteries which he believes are being sold and his prime suspect is a young medical student.
The chemistry between the two MC’s is palpable almost from the beginning. However, their on-page time together is slim for the first half of the book which concentrates more on Cadell’s investigation. In fact, he actually spends more time trying to avoid the constable which doesn’t work out exactly as he planned. If you are a fan of unresolved sexual tension (UST) then this book if for you. Their relationship can be described as slow burn with any actual sexual contact between the two not happening until almost the very end of the book.
Dark Economy can be described more as a mystery than a romance. And this mystery is one of the more original that I have read in quite some time. I really had no idea who was behind the murder until the murderer was actually revealed. The storyline had so many twists and turns and red herrings that it will definitely keep the reader guessing. And although I enjoyed that aspect of the book, I do believe the story was rather long and the mystery drawn out. And because of this I became easily confused due to an abundance of secondary characters and story lines. There is so much going on in this book. Almost too much.
By the end of the book all the loose strings are sewn up and our MC’s can begin what I would describe as a HFN ending. I’m hoping this means that this could quite possibly become a series. The constable and the new coroner solving murders and unexplained deaths while carrying on an affair. It would explain the two spending so much time together.
The author obviously needed to have an extensive knowledge of early 19th century medicine in order for the mystery and Cadell’s character to be believable. Which they were. A warning … if you are squeamish there is a scene in which Cadell performs an autopsy on a teenage girl. And it’s described in detail. It is written so realistic the reader will think they are in the room. I had to stop and breathe deeply a few times before continuing on. This is a compliment to the writer for describing something so well I felt as if I was going to be sick.
Overall, the mystery was engaging and entertaining. An original plot line in a favorite historical period is a win-win. However, the book seemed overly long as if to be able to contain the numerous characters and side stories within. The cover is beautifully done. The main characters were likable with great chemistry but I felt they did not have enough page time together. I actually thought to myself at one point that Breton could actually be considered a secondary character.
Recommend to mystery lovers who love a historical setting and UST in their romance.