REVIEW: Corrupt by Chase Potter
With a reputation for underhanded business deals, real estate developer Matthew Archer is as charming as he is untouchable. Political connections and lucrative city contracts have turned his unassuming company into a powerful development firm, and Matt has never been afraid of bending the rules to get what he wants.
All that changes when he collides with the city’s new district attorney, Alex Price. Dedicated to cracking down on years of shady politics, Alex enlists Matt as an insider ally. But when a spark of chemistry and a less than honest collaboration quickly spiral into something more, Matt finds himself falling for Alex faster than he’s prepared for.
As Alex’s investigation leads him toward a corruption scandal rooted deep in the past, Matt realizes he might not be able to protect both his business and his heart against a man who could take everything from him. And as the two men find their professional and personal lives increasingly entangled, they begin to understand that the law can cut both ways.
BEWARE OF THE SPOILERS IN THE REVIEW
Dear Chase Potter,
I have read almost every other book you’ve written and I was eager to try this one because even though Matt sounded like a sleazy character, I was curious as to where you would take the characters and the story. As my grade shows, the ending did not make me happy at all and I was (and am) torn as to what kind of grade this book deserves from me.
So, first and foremost let’s be honest here. Matt is a talented and charming architect and developer, but he is also a criminal. He is not just “bending the rules”, he is *committing crimes* – because giving the bribes to the public officials in order to win the contracts with the city and to get approval to build what they want is illegal. We all know that and to be fair, Matt knows who he is and does not try to make excuses for himself, so kudos for him being self – aware.
Matt’s “friend”/ partner (actually I am not hundred percent sure whether he was a partner in his firm, but they certainly had some kind of working relationship ) James is ten times worse than Matt in a sense that he is not only bribes public officials, he is also working hard and succeeding in getting a Mayor elected who will clearly be doing whatever James wants him to do, will be in his pocket.
One day in the very beginning of the book, Matt and his developer buddies and people who are important to them were playing football and Alex was amongst them. Alex and Matt collide ( because Alex “forgot” that they were playing flag football) and tackled him. That’s how their story begins.
Matt knows that he should stay away from Alex, but stay away he cannot because attraction rules the day. James warns Matt that Alex is investigating corruption amongst the city and developers who win work for the city, and Matt’s brain realizes that, but once again *attraction rules the day*.
I have to say that the writing really worked for me here, even though the book was written in the present tense, I thought it was a smooth enough read. I also thought Alex and Matt had lovely chemistry. I also enjoyed the third character who was present in the story in a big way and since the blurb is silent about this character, I will be as well.
There are no other characters besides James ( and even he clearly is a supporting character with much lesser page presence than the other three) and still it did not feel that way to me.
What did not work? Well, Matt’s character arc did not work for me, or I should say – not quite. Alex’s final move pissed me off, let’s be honest as well.
See, this book IMO is very clearly a romance, while other books by this writer (I have read three or four) may have had strong romantic elements, but I did not consider them Romances ( two did not even have HEA). When I read Romance I am perfectly happy with the flawed character, I don’t need the flawed character to suffer or anything, but working on becoming a better person is something that I would have liked to happen.
When the character’s flaw is that he is a criminal, I need the character to pay for what he did before everything is going to be well in his life. Of course Matt deserves love, everybody deserves love and it did not sound as if he was planning to do criminal stuff again, but I did not think he paid. I appreciated that the writer tried to humanize him to give him reason for his actions, but the reason while it made me feel for Matt did not *justify* his actions if that makes sense. I did not buy that the only way out of tough situation he found himself in was to bribe to make his business more profitable and get money for what he needed. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely had sympathy for the reason why he needed money.
So basically the ending was infuriating for me. Even more so because of Alex’s final actions. I wondered if the dolt realized that because of his leniency towards Matt a much more horrible person was completely off the hook too.
Grade B/D. The story was well written, and the relationship made sense, but my extreme dissatisfaction with where the characters ended up warrants the D.