Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Flesh Market
Author: Kate Lowell
Series: Bodies and Souls #1
Genre: MM Contemporary
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Available at: Loose Id
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Special Agent Leo Gale is up a creek. A year and a half of deep cover is about to go up in flames. He needs help – something, someone to salvage the operation and save the lives of untold numbers of trafficked teenagers.
But he wasn’t expecting the partner they sent, or his own gut-punch of a response to the man.
Julian worked hard for that FBI Honors Internship. It was supposed to be a foot in the door. He’d never expected it to catapult him into the middle of a major undercover operation. Yet here he is, sleeping on a filthy mattress and using every trick in the book to avoid torture–and worse. He’s never felt so scared, or so alive, in his entire life, and he’s not sure if it’s the danger, or Leo, that’s making his heart race.
There’s no time to think about it, though. The operation is heating up, and Leo and Julian are running out of time and options. As choices become more difficult, they must find a way to take the traffickers down, or risk becoming just another set of organs for sale.
Review: Leo Gale has been an agent for about 10 years, deeply undercover for a year and a half. He is just about convinced his cover is blown when, in fact, he is actually being promoted to the position of procurement and processing of the sex trafficking ring. Still believing he is close to being in trouble, he calls his handlers for some help.
This is where Julian comes in. He’s barely out of school, interning for the FBI hoping it will be a step in the right direction to becoming an agent. He is on the path to be an analyst, but he has the exact look they need for the operation and hope his inexperience will actually help him play the part as well. He is sent in as bait to be picked up as merchandise.
These guys face a lot of struggles keeping up the charade. Julian must endure beatings and forced sexual situations the likes of which he hadn’t fully contemplated. After it became apparent Leo needed him there for more than the few days he thought it would take, Julian’s contact with the other victims and hatred for those in charge, made his decision to stick it out pretty easy.
These guys had an attraction right away – was it just the excitement, fear and adrenalin rush of the job which forced them together, or was there something more? Is their age gap an issue? Will Julian eventually run off with someone younger, as Leo believes? They carry out the job the best they can and are then faced with those questions and a few more, in addition to dealing with the aftermath of the operation.
A majority of this story takes place during the operation where they continue to try and obtain enough evidence to take it all down. Once it is over, the story jumps 2 years, of which the guys are apart and not speaking. I really would have liked to know more about what happened with Julian during this time, his recovery, etc. At the end, I was still not convinced it wasn’t the job that sparked their mutual desire, but was happy to see they were both willing to give it a go and see how things went. Julian is off for six months of training, so it will be a while before they can actually put this plan into action. I’d say they are happy for now.
I found this to be a quick read. There are POV changes that took me a second to realize who was speaking, but all in all, I had no trouble following along. There are beatings, and medical scenes along with the forced sexual situations, and while the first two were pretty well detailed, the last not so much. I found I wanted more details of what Julian went through, but that might make it easier for some to handle. I’m looking forward to seeing where these guys go from here and eagerly await the next installment.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*