Like other reviewers have already pointed out, Dark Economy
is a historical murder mystery with little romance and even less sex getting in the way. Which was much appreciated.
The mystery is not the most gripping one: There are a lot of possible culprits, but it's not one of those books that keeps you guessing; there aren't enough clues for you to guess. Instead, you follow medical student Cadell playing the amateur sleuth and watch him solving the puzzle, in classic procedural style.
Cadell's not an instantly likeable character – thank heavens, instantly likeable characters are boring as hell. He's arrogant, a bit too full of himself, and judgemental. But he has his head on right, his heart is in the right place, and he has a fierce sense of justice. Because the story is told from Cadell's POV, police constable and love-interest Breton remains more of an enigma; which is fine, because he's kind of a mystery to Cadell, too. The secondary characters where well fleshed-out, the author created a nice, seemingly authentic atmosphere – although she might have overdone it a bit with the Briticisms.
The romance really takes a backseat here, and while this is completely fine with me, what little romance there is felt quite forced. The author noticeably wanted to create sexual tension, but maybe she wanted it a bit too much. It felt artificial. And Breton throwing Cadell against walls or on beds in outbursts of uncharacteristic passion (I assume it should signify passion) got old quite fast.
There were some unanswered questions: What did Dylan want to tell Cadell on that ball, before Dylan's dick got in the way? Why was Beth so positive about her brother hooking up with Cadell, when she couldn't even know for sure if Cadell was gay? And how on earth did Breton know that the culprits attacking Beth were the same who did... the spoilery stuff?
All in all, not bad for a début, and I actually wouldn't mind a sequel. Or a bit more about Dan; Dan was a cutie.