Blurb as written by the author, review follows after cover image.
Francis Beaufort – Famine.
They say you shouldn’t hoard your wealth.
Those people know nothing of the power it brings.
Drake, West, Prescott and I are untouchable.
The men known as the Four Horsemen.
Gods ruling over our kingdom.
There are some secrets in this world greater than others. Our fifth was going to find that out the hard way.
Scarlett thought she knew why she’d come back, but she had no idea what lay in the dark recesses of her memories.
It started when we returned her to our sides. When we let desire fuel our needs. And it will end when the truth comes to light.
Corrode, by Sarah Bailey is the third book in the four novel series known as Four Horsemen. Four ruthless men and the equally ruthless woman that are engrained into their souls. There’s still so much to do before this menagerie could find anything close to something resembling peace. We start off with a bang, as a very emotional and well written flashback of Scarlett’s accident that paints a horrible yet important picture of what brought the characters to their current day brokenness. To put it simply, the overall story has found its groove. We’re not exposed as much to the inner monologues of annoyingly boastful murder boys. Now that the reader is expected to fully understand where everyone stands, the intricacies of what happened in those 10 years lost to Scarlett can finally be explored and examined. It’s still annoying as fuck that these men go through life with an arrogance that they can control who lives and dies simply at their direction, but there’s more grounds for understanding this mindset. We get a great look at how some people cope with unspeakable trauma, notably the “broken” characteristics that make up the Horsemen. This reader will never have sympathy for them, but I’ll restate the opportunity for understanding comes through the text in a brilliant way. That doesn’t make me any more comfortable with their antics of course…
There’s a scene about a quarter of the way in that feeds a blood lust that I wasn’t expecting at the time. After a brief (yet plot important) altercation, a graphic and gruesome torture-murder of a known character takes place, who at the time I couldn’t understand the need for such brutality in this way. For me, and perhaps me alone, this was not a satisfying kill of an inhuman monster character that deserved it multifold. The process and sexual gratification were understood for the characters doing the deed, but not for the victim, as an unlikable character was savagely tortured more so to prove a point than correct an injustice. There was a lot of care and effort put into this particular torture scene, brief as it may have been in page length. To be honest I came a gnat’s eyelash from a DNF for the novel, for just the briefest of a moment. This is an unfortunate realization for me as a nontarget demographic reader, but the emotion I feel even now thinking about it for the review, says a lot for the quality of writing. There’s still several characters left that will surely meet a worse end, and to those who seek to sate this example of the macabre, it’s right in their wheelhouse, and is a brilliant example of that fantasy.
Fantasy, mind you, is the name of the game once most of the cards are on the table, and the characters get to engage in their various sexual gambits with impunity. Some great examples of kinks used to cope, comfort or just vent frustration with the world are examined in more detail than in previous novels in the series. All 5 main characters are on edge (and with good reason), so we as the readers get to revel in physical and emotional gratification that they use to get them to the next proverbial chapter of their prolonged misery. Scarlet of course, is the straw that stirs the drink and it’s a satisfying lens with which to view these expressions. After all, misery loves company, and to the horseman and their lady there’s no better place to be than with each other.
Verdict: Corrode by Sarah Bailey is an all-important setup novel that creates tension, satisfies desires, and prepares the reader for the wild conclusion that’s sure to follow in the fourth installment. The moments of violence in book three are chilling but with this series there is a notion that it’s only going to get more intense, and that’s just as unnerving. Until we get a series ending, we as the reader should expect a crescendo of this very important element. It’s not predictable in a nuts and bolts sense, and the writing is still top notch at these important moments. But how could we expect the higher up antagonists to meet any other fate? The “you ain’t seen nothing yet” style implied is undoubtedly exciting, especially as the red hot sex scenes couple in intensity right alongside, but it comes at a cost to readers venturing outside of their comfort zone. To be blunt, if graphic depictions of murder are going to be a deal breaker, this is not a story for you, as in this instance we are shown rather than told, and the victims themselves are dubious in their deserving of such a fate…at least to this reviewer. All of this conflict gives me a great opportunity as a reader however, something I’ve never before experienced. I fully, 100% truly, from the bottom of my heart do not care about the “happiness” (for lack of a better word) of these main characters, and a part of me wants them to suffer as much as possible before the promised HEA. That said, the brilliant writing that’s caused this emotion can be appreciated on a new level, allowing me to explore more of the human experience that’s being portrayed, rather than worrying about the details the character’s day-to-day emotions. It’s a new challenge, but there’s no one I’d trust more for such a venture than this author.
Special thanks to Sarah Bailey for providing an advance review copy of Corrode to TehBen.com. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Purchase link: Amazon
Author’s Twitter: @sbaileyauthor