Friday, October 2, 2009

A Spirit of Vengeance by Angela Benedetti

TITLE: A Spirit of Vengeance
AUTHOR: Angela Benedetti
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 17k)
GENRE: Gay paranormal romance
COST: $2.25

His lover’s brutal death has left Josh broken and confused, especially when Kevin starts visiting him in his dreams, speaking of murder and revenge…

From the very first words, the unrelenting emotion and overwhelming grief grip the reader by the lapels and refuses to let go. There is no preamble. The author shoves you straight into the middle of Josh’s confusion regarding his partner’s death, and holds you down in it until there’s nowhere else to turn. That’s not a bad thing. You’re hardly aware of being so expertly corralled until you’re there, and then, it’s just a short, intense ride through the rest of the story as it plays out around you.

Josh doesn’t know how to process Kevin’s violent death, a crime that seems to have been inspired by hate. His palpable feelings twist and turn until neither he nor the reader knows which end is up, so when Kevin’s ghost starts visiting him, it’s disconcerting at best. There’s absolutely no reason to distrust Josh’s fearful reaction to it, and the time it takes for him to come to grips with the possibility that, yes, he’s not crazy, only serves to further cement my belief in how hard this loss has hit him. This reaction, so real, so human, provides the fulcrum upon which the rest of the story balances. Because I can believe that, I can believe in Kevin, and the plot that follows, even if it seems to be secondary to the more relevant task of processing his grief.

The suspense portion of the story, that of satisfying Kevin’s need for revenge, felt rushed in comparison to the careful unfolding of Josh’s emotions. That holds it back a little, as the other players almost seem extraneous. The details supporting the so-called real world, too, never rang as vibrantly true as Josh and his feelings, but they were certainly more than adequate to keep the story believable and moving forward. The true thrust of this novella is Josh and Kevin’s love story – and I’m deliberately choosing to use that term rather than romance – and for this alone, it provides a poignant, compelling read.


9/10 - Driven, anguish-filled prose hooks you from the very first page

Hero #1

8/10 – Very real emotions, very real reactions, just very real

Hero #2

7/10 – While he’s the driving force behind the actions, his function as catalyst slightly overshadows his function as character

Entertainment value

8/10 – The grief and mourning overwhelms the suspense part of the story, not necessarily in a bad way

World building

7/10 – Enough details to provide a background, but the focus on this is in the relationship



1 comment:

Angie said...

Thanks for a great review! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D