The Flesh Cartel #14: Independence Day - Rachel Haimowitz, Heidi Belleau
4.5 Stars ~ Review by Christine

Mat has escaped from Paradise Island and is now under the watchful eyes of FBI agents Nate Johnson and Louise Menendez and his coach, Darryl Dickson. However, Mat’s freedom has come with a horrible price, and he is tormented by the knowledge that his little brother Dougie is in grave danger because of him. The only solution is to go back in and get Dougie out. How to convince the Feds that he is the best chance Dougie has may prove to be more difficult than he imagined.

Independence Day has an entirely different tone and feel than the previous episodes of the series. The focus is on Mat and his first few days as a free man, along with all the internal demons he faces now that he is out. The guilt over his actions as a slave and the fact that his escape will no doubt have dire consequences for Dougie plagues him constantly. The authors do an excellent job with Mat’s driving need to rescue his brother, and the lengths he goes to in order to convince his protectors he needs to be re-introduced into The Cartel as a slave are heart-breaking in their desperation. There is little seen of Dougie in this episode, save for a brief chapter in which it becomes clear that he is, indeed, in serious peril at the hands of Allen Smythe-Kennedy. Mat is quite right that time is of the essence...