Erryn reviews ‘Sweating Lies (mm dark mafia romance)’ by Emma Jaye. The ebook was published April 28, 2019 and is 262 pages. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Jonathan Waters, released on January 7, 2022 and is 8 hrs and 45 mins long. A copy was provided for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I love books where the line between the good guys and the bad guys is blurred.
“Gladiator or toy?” Kaspar asks, as if it’s the easiest choice in the world.
It might be an easy answer for someone branded, brainwashed, and who remembers no other life. But that’s not me – not yet, anyway. I’m a cop – or at least I was until my cover got blown.
Now, I’m a captive on a ship; one of the trafficked people I vowed to save. Kaspar’s a toy – a pleasure slave – content to warm our sadistic owner’s bed; he laps up the abuse he’s conditioned to associate with affection.
He’s my only way out. To gain our freedom, I must play the hardest undercover role of my career and be everything his fractured mind needs: a more controlling bastard than the man who turns people into grateful slaves for a living.
Officer Jiao Sweatt thinks I’m a victim.
He has a lot to learn.
And it’ll hurt.
Themes: Crime. Slavery. Mental health issues. Abduction.
Genre: Dark psychological thriller M/M. Violence. High angst and explicit steamin’ hot scenes.
Length: 81K. Stand-alone with happy for now. Series continues with the same characters in Splitting Lies.
I’ve been enjoying the Criminal Delight series and was (pun intended) delighted to see a new addition through this audio release. Now, if I had to listen to dubcon with morally questionable people every day, I’d get tired of them. One or two a month? Perfect.
To start, I’ll say I liked Jiao Sweatt as a character. Hard-scrabble life. Made his way up from nothing to be a cop. A cop who infiltrates the mafia world to bring down some bad dudes. He’s moved from assignment to assignment, sinking deeper into these roles. Killing other bad dudes without much compunction. Fighting in MMA-style brawls to keep his street cred. Doing whatever it takes to bring down the criminals.
Until the day it all goes sideways. His cover is blown, he’s taken down, and the next thing he knows, he wakes up on a boat. A boat full of slaves for an underground mafia family he’s never heard of. By the time he gets his bearings, he realizes he’s in deep trouble. There are bad men running this organization – possibly some of the worst he’s encountered. And they train their young captives to become obedient sex slaves. Human trafficking at its finest.
Jiao vows to bring them all down. But that’s pretty hard while he’s suffering horrific abuse at their hands, is miles offshore, and is falling for another captive.
Kaspar has a decent life – for a sex slave. His backstory was unexpected, and I won’t reveal it here as it’d be a huge spoiler, but I didn’t see it coming. He’s obedient to the captain of the vessel and mindless in his submission. Except the voices in his head. He’s clearly mentally ill – not so much because of the torture he appears to willingly submit to – but because there’s obviously more going on with him. Jiao sees it, but is powerless to help.
Until the day escape seems possible. But with the odds stacked against them, it doesn’t seem to be a true option. And this organization has tentacles everywhere. Even if they manage to get off the ship, would they ever really be safe?
Oh, and Kaspar doesn’t want to leave. He’s happy to remain onboard, a victim who doesn’t see himself as one, for as long as he’s alive.
High drama. High stakes. Dark, uh, stuff.
I was along for the ride. Ms. Jaye drew me in from the beginning and I was right there, horrified by the abuse – as I was expected to be – and rooting for some strange characters. Like the captain was a POV character, so I kept wondering what his true role was.
There are more books in the series and OMG when the opportunity to snag them comes along an audio, I’m all-in.
I will say Jonathan Waters is a new narrator to me and I’m hooked. I liked the effects he did with the voices in Kaspar’s head. And he held steady through the entire book. Glad to see he’s on board for the entire series. A dark series. A desolate series. An enthralling series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Emma is the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of m/m series such as Paint, Incubus and Lies.
Emma is a multi-genre author, including Sci-fi, paranormal, contemporary romance and erotica with m/m, m/f and multiple partners. She blames her rebellious muse (who looks like Chris from the Paint Series) for the erotic aspects tickling the angst, and the humour cuddling up with the erotic. No matter the genre, she promises different characters, dark themes, steamin’ sex, laughs and a HEA or HFN.
When not writing or reading she herds Birman cats and sons; Both groups argue that the other is too large.