Book Review: The Elegant Corpse by A. M. Riley

Posted: September 3, 2013 by sidlove in 4.5 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Katinka's Reviews
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Reviewed by Katinka C.

The Elegant CorpseTITLE: The Elegant Corpse
AUTHOR: A. M. Riley
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publishing
LENGTH: 158 pages
BLURB: Detective Roger Corso is open about his sexual orientation. He’s less forthcoming about his leather lifestyle. He thinks he’s doing a pretty good job of keeping it covert, but then something happen that changes his mind. Someone delivers an elegantly clothed corpse to his home. His couch to be precise. And that corpse is carrying a leather flogger. Roger’s taking that personally. Additional distraction comes in the form of the victim’s younger brother Sean. He’s annoying. Knows something about the murder he’s not telling. Wants something from Roger–and is everything Roger ever wanted. But before he can make Sean his, he’s going to have to solve the mystery of the elegant corpse.


Like being buried underneath an avalanche of mediocrity, that’s basically how I felt about my latest reads. So color me very relieved when The Elegant Corpse turned out to be a breath of fresh air!

You won’t find overwrought flowery sentences and metaphors in this book. If you adore your m/m romance clichés and manipulative tropes, ones that leave you teary-eyed, you’ll be barking at the wrong tree as well. So lemme just step on my soapbox once more and shout from the top of my lungs……What a solid, smoothly- written old-school detective! A fast-paced murder mystery with a grim edge, in which dead bodies pop up everywhere, the killer’s one step ahead of the game, and the sturdy detective falls in love with a suspect…

…And I, in turn, fell in love with the detective. For some odd reason, my brain kept feeding me images of a Don Draper look-a-like, sitting behind his desk at the police station..

Anyway! Detective Roger Corso is cool as a cucumber. But even he understands that he better take it personally when someone leaves a dead body in his living room. And that’s not all. The body is in fact the wrapped, disemboweled, and ritualistically posed mummy of a beautiful gay boy, who disappeared 20 years ago. Roger, not a closet case but a private person nonetheless, immediately recognizes what the corpse holds in its hands. Those are not Egyptian artifacts, but BDSM equipment. In that instance, Roger realizes that his secret life as a Master is about to bleed into the fabrics of his life as a detective…

This book offers a bit of everything really: crime, torture, suspense, romance, humor, BDSM, poetry even…and sympathetic characters. And yet it appears as if I got to know the latter only in passing. In a way, The Elegant Corpse seems like the very first book in a shiny new series, in which everything is laid out for future reference. There are almost too many ideas stuffed into one book. I was dying to get to know the meticulous Roger and his sidekick Mary Anne better and am bummed that this apparently is a stand-alone?! Do something about that Riley!

I’d beg…?

Oh well, onwards we go. The references to the 80’s gay life, the Tom of Finland leather daddies and the AIDS epidemic added a rich and realistic touch. It’s an era Roger only remembers too well. It has shaped him. Thus he is all the more weirded out when he finds that he’s not immune to Generation Y kid Sean (can we say thirty going on thirteen? His age.. what a joke, psht!). The redhead is the brother of one of the mummified victims and too young, too vocal and too brash for Roger’s usual tastes…

Sean chewed his thumb, eyes darting around the precinct room, those bloody fingers tapping out an uneven rhythm on Roger’s desk.
“Stop that”, snapped Roger suddenly.
Sean froze. “What?”

Roger schooled himself to patience, took a deep breath in, and released it slowly. “It can’t be hygienic – or pleasant, either –to have gnawed bloody fingertips all the time.”
Sean lowered his thumb and looked at it as if seeing it for the first time. “Sorry,” he said, sounding angry. He folded his fingers around themselves in his lap and said: “I don’t suppose you have any bad habits?”

Roger raised his eyebrows, typing. He didn’t answer.

Yup, since Roger is distracted by a bouncy redhead who threatens to compromise the case – and Roger’s secret life – you’ll have plenty of time to see if you can solve the crimes before he does. Should be a piece of cake….hmm?

Two final notes. One: you don’t have to be into BDSM to enjoy this book. Not a fan of formalized BDSM myself, but other than a first scene (that I found dull, sorry), it was worked into the story unobtrusively. And two: Mary Anne. Who is definitely not a Mary Anne. What a kick-ass sidekick for Roger this woman is! For once, you won’t be stuck with a female character who is either a bitch from hell or a dowdy Mary Sue, as seems to be the standard in the m/m romances I read. If Roger’s love life doesn’t end up in shambles, I’ll settle for Mary – “I love you dearly, Roger, but I don’t want you to have kinky sex in my house, okay?” – Anne.

Katinka’s Rating:

BUY LINK: Loose Id  ::  All Romance eBooks

Katinka C. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’S REVIEWS

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