Dirty Angel (PrinCkhera’s Review)

Dirty Angel
Title: Dirty Angel
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal/Urban fantasy
Page Count: 225
Reviewed by: PrinCkhera
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5
Blurb:

Dying Sucks
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?

Living sucks
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.

This was a different book and in being so I realized that there is so much more to the MM Paranormal genre than I’d known previously. Werewolves? Shifters? Ghosts? That’s kind of been the norm as far as I’m familiar with the genre.

A redemption tale under the guise of supernatural forces though?

“Though not exactly happy. Aden existed. He didn’t live. Now, he did neither.”

Don’t be misled by my average rating of this book, because this book does pack a punch. It has so much going on, and you truly start rooting for the characters. But, it’s so incredibly predictable at times, and kind of cheesy in the end, that it’s hard to give it a higher rating.

Its take on how one redeems itself is original. Though my experience with said genre is quite limited, I do know that I have not come across a plot line such as this one and that’s why it was quite frankly fascinating. I was curious about how the author would work with this plot line, how they would be able to pull me in and for the record, she completely did. I was hooked. Though it was more like the kind of “hooked” you get while watching a soap.

“A month,” Aden muttered. What would he have done if he’d been told by a doctor he only had that long to live? Partied like hell as long as he could.

Aden is an honest character to the extent he could be. Constantly we are made to realize that this is a man facing a struggle between who he’s accustomed to being, a person he’s crafted for years, and the person he can be if he tried. By receiving a chance, a month more exactly, to show that he is capable of good, we see him change.

“I’m not religious. I’ve never been to church in my life. But recently I’ve come to believe there’s another sort of existence after this one.”
“Why?”
“Because we should be accountable for how we live our lives. There has to be a price to pay for choosing the wrong path, a reward for picking the right one.”
“You believe in heaven and hell?”
“Yes. If you’re the best person you can be, then you can go to heaven. If you’re not, then you deserve hell.”

Brody is… a man who has to let go of his past. His relationship with Matt, his ex-boyfriend, was unhealthy on many many levels. The first time we hear of him, the way their relationship is described lights up so many red flags it’s not even funny.

The bane of Brody’s existence is having fallen for Matt and then having mistaken this obsession, because that is clearly what this was, for love.

Matt, in short is obsessed. He does not care for Brody in any manner, and when our suspicions are confirmed on what he is capable of? Unsurprising.

It’s kind of ridiculous how obvious this Matt character was, every step of the way. What he would do, what he had done. Every single thing. Predictable.

He is also why this became quite melodramatic because it felt as though I was watching a soap at times, where it just kept getting worse and worse. The circumstances, the characters, their lives and those ruining it.

The author explored what consequences having either a traumatic childhood, or mistaking obsession for love could have on a person’s life.

Aden’s past, the abuse he suffered at the hands of his so-called “parents” was atrocious, calling them monsters would be too little. To live with that, to overcome that, or spending time not dealing with it and then finally finding someone – you didn’t know you were looking for – and being able to get your fucked up ness not be a deal breaker… Is basically what this book is about. Kind of a mouthful, but trying to explain this book kind of does that to a person.

Both Aden and Brody have pasts they needed to move past. For Aden, it was his childhood which subsequently led him to squander his later years – though he is reflective and does realize that he could have chosen to not lead the life he did. For Brody it is moving past an unhealthy relationship that has done him harm – mentally, physically, emotionally. Though, the exploration of the emotional repercussions of when Brody finds out what Matt is truly capable of – because he gets worse – could have been more elaborate since so much of his story is spent on him finding love he did not think he was capable of finding.

Aden wasn’t going to take someone down with him. If there was any spark of decency inside him, he had to push Brody away – hard.

Aden and Brody. You know when you find someone that completes you? I don’t. Neither do these two, not really. They found someone about as fucked up as them, that made being fucked up kind of okay. To think that no one would ever be able to accept them as they are, was something they needed to move past. And they did. Eventually. Together.

On an added note, loved the “angels”. Both played a huge role in reminding, and testing, Aden on his path to becoming the man he could be. Their role within this story provided some levity, but also reminded us that this is a paranormal story with angels, and demons and with a potentially unhappy ending.

What I was curious about throughout the book, and this the author did really well, was the mystery as to how Aden died. When we find out, because we do (Thank God!) it’s amazing. It also incorporates the issue America’s facing today with so many shootings going on taking lives that shouldn’t have been taken.

The ending though was completely predictable and reinforced the soap-like quality that this story carried throughout.

Regardless, it is a story that pulls you in, keeps you hooked and doesn’t let go. Though, it did wane at the end as quite a few predictable things happened.

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Galley copy of Dirty Angel provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

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