Title: Dirty Angel
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal/Urban fantasy
Page Count: 225
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.0 stars out of 5
Particularly when you discover there really is a hell. Aden thinks there’s no way he can avoid going down, but when an angel and demon can’t agree over his fate, Aden is given one more month to gain redemption. He doubts he can find a way to become a better man in so short a time. But it’s worth a try, right?
Particularly when you can’t shake free of an obsessive ex. Brody might be managing to hold down his job as a vet, but his personal life is a mess. If he doesn’t pull himself together soon, he’s going to be sliding downhill too fast to stop.
One wet night, on a dark country lane, two worlds collide and destinies change forever.
Warning: This story contains a rape scene (or scenes, depending on your point of view) and sexual abuse of children which may be unsuitable for some readers. Less graphic but also uncomfortable for some, there is a scene with a beloved pet being put to sleep humanely.
First off, I was not expecting the rape nor the sexual child abuse. This was a new to me author so perhaps this is a theme in her books and her readers know what to expect, but it did take me a bit aback. Most authors are pretty good about giving readers a heads up with potentially sensitive topics.
This is a story about two damaged men finding each other. While the overall plot is about Aden’s soul being balanced between eternal damnation and salvation in heaven, it’s just as much about Brody finding his way out of a personal hell. While neither man can undo the past, it’s a matter if they can accept what happened and become stronger and better people for it.
As I noted in my warning, there is some heavy shit in both Aden’s and Brody’s past – recent and spanning decades. Both men were sexually abused as children and both men spiraled into patterns of abuse. Each man learned to handle his guilt in self-harming patterns, but they have a chance to break out if only Aden can learn how to love in the month allotted to him.
I liked the overall plot. It was a different take on the Angels and Devils vying for a person’s soul, but this time it’s the person who’s calling the shots. Kinda. It’s that “kinda” that made the situation interesting for Aden.
The setting of rural England, complete with a veterinary practice and boarding stable worked well, but I’m a complete nut for English veterinarians. Yes, I’ve read All Creatures Great and Small way too many times! I noted the similarities in the setting… hehehe.
My one concern was this was about 30 pages too long for my tastes. My attention began to waiver about 2/3 of the way though as more emotional and physical trauma is brought to the surface and unloaded and I was getting to an “ I got it already! Let’s move on!” point.
As Brody and Aden dance around their pasts, Aden’s humor really helped balance out what could have been an overly heavy topic. Quick with the one-liners, dry wit, and a dash of wry sarcasm made me smile more than once. I really liked that aspect of Aden and it helped to counter the rest. Cute animals also helped.