Book Review: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

This is the first book in the Devil’s Night series by Penelope Douglas.  Each book focuses on a different man from the main group of friends. The story takes place in the same world as stand alone Punk 57 (whose main character is cousins with a character from the Devil’s Night series). You could read this as a stand alone too because there is no cliffhanger and it’s currently available on kindle unlimited.

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This is the second Penelope Douglas book I’ve read and it will definitely not be my last.  I decided to pick this one up because I realized how much I enjoyed Punk 57 and her writing style, plus the reviews for this book were all along the lines of “wtf” and “what the what did I just read?!” and another person was just like go in with no expectations and enjoy the ride.  And what a freaking ride it was, that’s the best way to describe it.  My head is still reeling, I had the most bizarre dreams after finishing it, and I’m pretty sure my senses are fried.  I also tweeted this sentiment at the author and she responded with an evil Grinch gif saying it was all according to plan, so yeah.

This is a new adult erotic contemporary romantic suspense book and I can honestly say I have never read anything like it.  I can’t say that means that there is nothing out there like it, but for me this was really new.  It’s dark, uncomfortable, twisted, creepy, exciting, intense, thrilling, and still very sexy.  This wasn’t a romance story that’s just set within a suspense plot, the romance itself was suspenseful and nerve wracking.

This is one where I feel like trigger warnings are important but really the whole thing could be triggering so I don’t even know how piece it apart.  Consent is on the shakiest ground here and there are multiple nonconsensual interactions where the main character is clearly saying no and being harassed or attacked and an almost rape scene situation.  Pretty much all of this behavior is meant to add to the scary suspense of the story and it definitely works, making you question just how far these characters are going to go and if you can handle it.

Erika
I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.
His name is Michael Crist.
My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.
But I noticed him.
I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.
Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.
Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael
Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.
My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.
Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.
In my city.
Unprotected.
The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.
We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

The plot is very imaginative. Michael and his three friends are called the Four Horsemen and have a reputation for going around on Devil’s Night, the night before Halloween, to pull some pretty serious “pranks” while wearing these super creepy masks and one year they come back after they’ve graduated and end up bringing high schooler Rika along with them.

The POV switches between Rika and Michael and the story jumps between that night out in the past and the present time where Rika is in college in a new city and begins running into Michael again as well as the three other Horsemen who were just released from prison after three years and they’re all acting like sinister assholes.

The boys blame Rika for getting locked up and now they are after this really elaborate and scary revenge against her. But she has no idea until it’s too late.

I really loved every single character in this book. They were dark, tormented, and absolutely thrilling (sorry not sorry for the overuse of those adjectives!).  I would be terrified and but still really excited to hang out with these people and I would also never be able to hang out with them because I am not that hardcore.

The settings are purposefully creepy and luxurious and completely fit the tone and mood of the story. The theme was about owning who you are, not being sorry for or hiding your true self, and finding strength (and sexiness!) in fear.

I want to tell you a bazillion more things about this book because it was so nuts but honestly, going in somewhat blind really makes the ride so much more wild and worth it. But probably based what I’ve already said you can tell, this is not for everyone!! It had a HEA but it is a f***ed up story meant to push your limits – I’d be getting restraining orders and therapy after this shit if it happened to me, but again, what a ride. Also if you’re not into sex scenes in public places and mfm threesomes, steer clear!

This was definitely a book that is so wrong that it also feels so right in the “omg I can’t believe I’m such a dirty bad girl being so into this” kind of way. I read this in one sitting and every time my husband tried to interrupt me I about ripped his head off haha!

I cannot praise Douglas’s writing enough. She is truly skilled, making you feel exactly what she wants you to. Despite how truly bonkers this story was her writing held it up without being laughable or cheesy.

Recommend for fans of erotic romantic suspense and scary hot alpha dudes in masks.

A very surprising 5 Stars!

7 comments

  1. I read this in one sitting and every time my husband tried to interrupt me I about ripped his head off haha!

    I laughed so hard at that line. I remember my hubby walked in during Chpt 25…you know the one…and I was like GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW lol

    Liked by 1 person

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