by Margaret and Lizz Weis, paranormal (2008)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-083333-6
Fallen Angel is an interesting story, but the hero is so self-absorbed here that he takes the whole me-me-me act to an extreme that I find too ridiculous. The heroine is great, so it is a complete disappointment that this book also has a complete dud for a hero. Why can't I have both great hero and great heroine in the same story? Bah humbug.
Natalia Ashley is a manager for an overnight hot rock star sensation called Cain Lukosi. Actually, she and Cain go a long way back, back when he was called Rupert and was trying to get his name out there. Now that Cain has made it big, she is determined to make sure that he doesn't crash and burn the way many rock stars do when they become inundated with drugs, sexual excesses, and worse. However, even the advice she gleaned from Doc McGhee isn't helping. Cain seems to have changed. As he embarks on his first national tour, he begins behaving really strangely. From trashing his hotel rooms to behaving like a stoned idiot on stage, Cain is really being not himself.
Still, Natalia tries her best to ensure that Cain remains in the spotlight. When she hears of this possible charlatan Father Gallow and his exorcist act, she decides that it will be a great idea to have Father Gallow show up at Cain's concert during the climatic performance of Cain's hit single Possession, where Father Gallow will attempt to exorcise the demon in Cain only to fail. Won't this be a hoot?
The thing is, the man known as Matthew Gallow is a charlatan, in that his exorcism is a show put on with the aid of an assistant so that they can both get people to donate money to his "ministry" after the "show". However, he is an angel. Matthew has existed for about two thousand years. He died when the Roman emperor Nero decided to execute the Christians and Matthew surrendered and died to protect his family. As he died a martyr, he eventually became an angel, but he left heaven because he couldn't get over how God apparently let those Christians die under Nero's orders. As the years stretch into centuries, he became an emotionless person... until what he expects to be another routine con job turns out to be a very real case of exorcism when he encounters a genuinely possessed young girl. Eventually, he will realize that Cain the rock star is in danger of falling irrevocably under the influence of demons. Can he save Cain and Natalia from these foul creatures?
Well, yes, I suppose he does, but when he finally gets off his ass and do something, I'm way past caring. Matthew is a dud. Even as he knows that there are demons running wild in Cain's entourage, even after they nearly kill Natalia, he's like, "Oh... should I tell her? What does it matter anyway? This is just a job... oh, how will I go back to my old life after this? Yes, people, everything is about me. Me, me, me!" It's ridiculous how he is still throwing his pity party for one after he knows that there are evil demons running around the place. I can hardly believe this fellow. Is he for real? Seriously?
It's really a pity that Matthew is a dud because Natalia is a great heroine. Some readers may take an instant dislike to her because she's very good at what she does. Which is to say, she works in show business and she is adept at manipulating the media to Cain's benefit, even if she has to be pushy, in your face, and even ruthless in the process. I like this aspect of Natalia because she isn't a damsel in distress and she gets things done. She doesn't know that there are demons threatening her life, but that's because there is no way she will know of this unless Matthew tells her. And that man is too busy navel gazing and making everything about him to do so, hmmph. If Natalia has one foolish aspect in her behavior, it's her blind spot about Cain. Seriously, that guy is behaving really strangely, and yet she doesn't seem to react to that personality change seriously. The authors aren't above making some contrivances in their story for the sake of conflict.
Nonetheless, the story is well written and very entertaining. The pacing is solid and the climatic scene is really good as it has me at the edge of my seat. And I must admit that the last chapter is one of the best I've read in a while - it's not mushy but it's so romantic, I can barely stand it. Fallen Angel would have been a great read, but alas, the hero is so determined to be a one man emo show for so long that he nearly pulls the story completely under with him.
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