Roger Corso’s life is carefully ordered, sharply planned, and controlled, which makes him an outstanding police detective but a person who rarely enjoys a surprise, such as the appearance of a mummified dead body strategically placed on his living room sofa. But while that may be slightly disturbing to him, the real fear invoking item at the crime scene isn’t the Chanel suit the male is dressed in, but the leather flogger in his hand—something that is oh so very familiar to our tightly buttoned downed officer. While Roger makes no attempt to hide his sexuality or flaunt it for that matter, he does keep his Dominant tendencies secret. So the crime scene that is now most assuredly in his own personal space is definitely a message—all he has to do was figure out what it all means and what a mummified, years-old corpse has to do with the close knit community of Doms and subs to which Roger is well acquainted. Unfortunately, before he and his partner can get many leads, bodies began mounting up—each one beaten to death and carefully displayed and if that weren’t enough of a nightmare, the first victim’s younger brother, Sean, has attached himself to Roger much like a limpet—and is just happening to push every one of Roger’s inner Dom’s buttons to boot.
Sean is a mess. Adrift career wise, he is a loose cannon who too often conveniently ended up wherever Roger was investigating. Not only that, but it is apparent to Roger that Sean has a deep-seated need to be mastered, something Sean is studiously avoiding acknowledging despite his attraction to the reticent detective. Their two worlds are destined to collide and the only question is whether it will be in the precinct or the dungeon.
With the final week of Reading Challenge Month 2016 upon us, I hesitated to choose BDSM as my Genre Week challenge choice. While I had read a smattering of it here and there, nothing could prepare me for the hard-core story of true Dominant/submissive interaction one finds in The Elegant Corpse by A.M. Riley. I am going to begin by saying I LOVED this story and the reason was all about the Dom, Roger Corso. His near OCD lifestyle belied such a fiercely coiled brute strength that he used with an intensity, coupled with gentle care and a nurturing spirit it left me breathless at times. Here was a man who could inflict serious damage with everything from a flogger to a whip and yet hold his sub tenderly after, soothing him, caring for him, and making sure any marks inflicted would fade with the glorious memory of having just experienced a mind-blowing orgasm under his manipulations. He was a multi-dimensional character who could have been written off just as some tough guy with a penchant for sadism. Instead, he became a man who stole my heart and made me truly understand what it meant to be a Dom and how incredibly wonderful they can be with the men under their care.
When the murderer threatens to blow Roger’s private life wide open, rather than avoid doing the hard work of tracking down former friends in the scene, Roger carefully does his job—even when that finds him crossing a line he never thought possible and starting a relationship with the relative of one of the deceased. Sean was desperately in need of a guiding hand—to rein him in but to set him free— to give him the peace he so desperately craved, but could not begin to understand actually came from the need to be held in bondage and whipped into submission. The slow burning dance between these two men made this story heat up till it scorched the page and the follow through—the tenderness that was finally unleashed—that had been buried so deeply inside Roger since the death of his partner five years before was stunning to behold.
As to the mystery element, let me say this. I am that annoying friend who others hate that always seems to figure out the who in the whodunit way before everyone else. Not so with this one—yes I did get it before the end, but I must tell you this novel kept me on my toes—with so many bits and pieces slowly coalescing when the final reveal was handed to me, I was just giddy with delight—such a fantastic story, which was so tightly woven so as to not give any clues away before the very end.
I cannot say enough about The Elegant Corpse by A.M. Riley. It was a nonstop tour de force with gorgeous BDSM scenes and a romance that would satisfy even the most cynical among us. I highly recommend it to you.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for Genre Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Less Than Three Press. Three lucky winners will each receive a selection of print books. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Genre Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!