Gabriel is an aspiring young journalist. He's relaxing at a club one night when he spots Zach Mendel, a well-known journalist also rumored to be a very sadistic master. When he learns Zach is looking for a new assistant-cum-slave, Gabriel decides to pursue the opportunity. The young man is not inexperienced when it comes to submission, but can he be the kind of slave the experienced reporter is looking for?
There's a very superficial similarity between the premise of this book and the previous work by the author I reviewed, Livestock. Both feature a dominant with a bad reputation that the narrator decides to take a chance on. However, the two stories quickly diverge once the initial setup is complete.
Like the other books I've read by this author, the story is told in the first person by the submissive, Gabriel. The writing is very much like a diary or journal documenting the young man's experiences. This can be a somewhat dry style that some refer to as “telling rather than showing.” In previous books, the story overcame the limitations of the style, but this time around, that didn't happen for me. The story seemed to ramble, with a lot of detours that, in the end, didn't add anything to the plot.
Gabriel is a very sympathetic character. It's not easy to get inside the head of a submissive. The young man puts up with a lot from Zach and perseveres when most people would walk away. It goes a long way to demonstrate the oft-made point that submissives are the stronger personality in D/s relationships.
It would be easy to see Zach as a monster, and he definitely has a solid sadistic streak. I have to admit that some of the rambling parts of the story do serve to give us a fuller picture of the dominant's makeup, making him a truly three-dimensional character. He is definitely a man of contradictions.
This is the first book of a series that will presumably follow Gabriel and Zach on their adventures around the world. It's worth pointing out that while Cambodia features in the title of this first volume, none of the action takes place there. It's a significant subplot of the story, but it's all related second- and third-hand.