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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carla Neggers - The Angel

Genre: Suspense
Stand-alone Novel
ISBN: 978-0-77832-483-6
Releasedate: May 2008
Publisher: MIRA Books
Format owned: HC - Rhapsody
For sale at: The Book Depository Store


On a remote stretch of the rugged coast of Ireland, folklorist and illustrator Keira Sullivan pursues the mysterious Irish legend of an ancient Celtic stone angel. As she searches an isolated ruin, she's certain she's discovered the mythic angel, but before she can examine her find, she senses a malevolent presence…. Is someone in there with her? Then the ruin collapses, trapping her.

Keira's uncle, a Boston homicide detective, enlists the help of Simon Cahill to find his missing niece. Simon, an expert with Fast Rescue, a rapid-response search-and-rescue organization, is trying to keep a low profile after secretly assisting in the takedown of a major criminal network, but he rushes to Ireland, pulling Keira out of the rubble just as she's about to free herself.

Simon isn't interested in myths or magic, nor is he surprised when Keira can't find a trace of her stone angel. He doesn't believe it exists. But the gruesome evidence of a startling act of violence convinces him that whatever she found in the ruin, the danger she faces is real.

When the violence follows them to Boston-and escalates-Simon and Keira realize that the long-forgotten story that has captivated her has also aroused a killer…a calculating predator who will certainly kill again.

Patsy, an Irish woman living in Boston with a great story-telling ability,- tells about a legend from Ireland concerning a Stone Angel, three brothers and a place called Beara Peninsula. This inspires Keira, a folklorist and artist to go to this place and illustrate what the story entails. However she gets more than just the normal fairies, myths and folklore – and soon she finds herself in a bizarre swirl of circumstances that on their own seem like accidents but all together might be something more.

I started off reading this novel as a Romantic Suspense because that’s the genre what it’s published in. When I finished reading though, I thought to myself - ‘If I was the judge of it, I’d say it’s more a Contemporary Romance.’ - as the suspense left things to be desired.

I had a bit of trouble getting into the story. The chapter’s each begin in a Law & Order sort of style, starting with date, time, location and as a big fan of the series whenever I started reading a new chapter I heard that tone you hear in the series :S. It should get you eased into the story but instead it slowed me down and made it feel a bit chaotic to me.

The story re-located from Boston to Ireland and I just love to read about the Irish setting. Carla touched a certain vibe that for those who’ve been to Ireland know what she means however some things are a bit clich√© as well as making me find it funny. Having been there myself the Irish Knitted jumpers aren’t worn so much anymore ;-) these days. However the time spend in Ireland was way too short for me.

Carla has her own way in writing and you need to keep a straight head making sure not be distracted too much when you read. A lot of characters are main characters in The Angel and sometimes that left me hanging and wondering what happened to the Hero and Heroine – Keira and Simon. I really loved them as characters and feel more pages should have been used to deepen their connection and getting to know them. At some point the storyline of Abigail and Bob took over the story completely.

Keira is this amazing character, extravagant, an artist with a passion for folklore, fairies and myths. I found things of myself back in her that made me instantly understand her and her quirks. Simon is a bit of a mystery, but kind, caring and a balanced person. With his dark hair, green eyes, incredible voice and lean body it made the package of a hunk-a-liscious hero complete for me.

Because I really like these main characters and they are great together, I’m all the more a bit disappointed that they didn’t get as much writing space as they did in this novel. I could easily see this book turning into a trilogy because the other characters really appeal to me and have potential to more. I found out that Abigail Brown has a novel dedicated to her story as well in The Widow but I didn’t miss the fact I hadn’t read that novel beforehand. In this novel events around Abigails past are well-explained and that was great to read, however it took attention away from Keira and Simon and I would have loved to seen the time spend on that storyline to have been spend to her mother, Eileens, past. It suited more in this novel and would have made me connect more to the current Hero & Heroines story.

In the end I think all the different plotlines – past and present – and characters make this story one with not too much depth and too little time spend with each character to fully grasp where Carla wanted this novel to head to and what she wanted to achieve. When I finished I had a major question about the plotline of the stone angel that still leaves me hanging and wondering what was what.

Having said that it was a great read and it did grab me at some level. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the hours I spend reading this novel. It’s easy to read in terms of that there’s not a lot of use of technical terms in the police business. It’s a mixture of humor, drama, a bit of legend and an faint attempt to make things a bit thrilling as suspense but wasn’t able to achieve that last.

My advice is to not read this as Suspense (because then I would have to admit I won’t get any further than a 2,5 star novel) and read it as Contemporary Romance. So herewith I would like to emphasize that the 3,5 stars would be when you leave out the suspense part as a main factor in this novel. What made it a 3,5 star in the end instead of a 3 star book is because Carla Neggers was able to stir my inner emotions and touch my feelings with her characters. There is something about her story telling that does something to me, she paints clear pictures so that I felt as though I was captured in the scenes, looking in on it through a window.

It’s one of those books you can pick up on a dark rainy day, read it and when you finish you know you had a few hours nicely spend. It was an interesting read and makes me wonder how her other novels are so I am trying to get my hands on at least The Widow and some other books by Carla Neggers – most are out of print so hence my hunt begins…

3,5 stars

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