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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Review: Angel's Advocate by Mary Stanton

For the very first book review I chose Angel's Advocate.  It is the second in the Beaufort & Company Mystery series and was recently released.  If you have not read either this release or the first Defending Angels, this review may be what helps you decide to give it a chance.

Angel’s Advocate by Mary Stanton – Move Over Matlock

Brianna Winston-Beaufort is a different kind of lawyer with a unique clientele. She represents dead people in the Celestial Courts of Justice. It is a job she has inherited and is still learning the ins and outs of. She was schooled as your regular everyday lawyer specializing in corporate tax laws, so this is not what she had expected for her future. She expected paying and living clients, even an office that the living could find would have been nice, or employees who were not angels. Nope, she is stuck with this gig along with the bickering angel employees.

This is the second book in a imaginative paranormal cozy series set in Savannah Georgia. This story revolves around a troubled wealthy family whose patriarch recently died in a car accident – but he insists from the grave that he was murdered. Brianna is also representing the disturbed daughter who stole a girl scout’s box of cookie-selling money.

The reader follows Brianna as she starts from square one and has to figure out why her dead client is looking at Hell and the charge is treachery – against his own daughter. Secondly she is trying to prove in the here-and-now that he was murdered. Third she just knows the troubled teen daughter is acting out and that there is more than meets the eye in this family. Throw in some dark forces attempting to keep her from being successful at her celestial duties and it is a great ride.

I like Brianna as the main character. She is spunky and has her self-doubts at times which I can relate to. Brianna’s family is nicely done and adds to the story. Her sister is the one not living up the parent’s expectations with her interest in theater and there is a refreshing dynamic between Brianna and Antonia as sisters. I enjoy the family element in this series.

From the summary of the story you can tell there are a few story lines all being worked simultaneously in the story. Where that might have caused confusion, it was handled deftly and kept the pace moving in this case.

One of the aspects of the novel that I enjoy is the dialog. It is well done and flows smoothly and gives you character nuances. I am taking notes! I had to share an example of this. This is a daughter talking to her mother.

Madison reached forward and patted her hand. “I’m sure. I’ll come and tell you all about what’s going on in a bit. Have you done your Pilates yet? You go on and start. I’ll be in to, like, work out with you as soon as we’re through here.” She watched until her mother went through the swinging doors that led to the dinning room. As they closed behind Andrea, she got up, crossed the kitchen floor on silent feet, and put her ear to the door. She sighed noisily. “Mom!” She cocked her head, waiting until she heard her mother move away from the door, and then trailed back to Bree.
“My goodness,” Bree said. “There’s more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there?”
Description of the evil “forces” trying to stop Bree in her investigations are scary good and will give you goose bumps.

A strange, furnace glow sprang to eerie life in the depths of the open grave. And then, with the sly, stealthy movement of a creeping snake, a path of filthy green light crept over the lip of the hole and onto the ground.
…A figure jerked horribly up the path. The shape was manlike, but distorted, as if she saw it through the shield of a scum-filled pond. It seemed to be made of flesh and bone, but a pallid, dead white flesh that crawled with corpse-mold. The man, Bree saw, or what had once been a man, raised his arms in a dreadful summons.
Descriptions of Savannah itself make me long to go there for vacation – now.

In the three hundred-some years of her history, Savannah had been burned to the ground, ravaged by hurricanes, and bombed by pirates. A hodgepodge of architectural styles was intrinsic to the city’s heritage. Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian, Greek Revival, Spanish, and Art Deco homes existed peaceably cheek by jowl.
…The exteriror was blue-green stucco. Scarlet bougainvillea wound its way across the wrought-iron porches and balconies and the last of the hydrangea bloomed like puff-balls against the wrought-iron fence.
Every scene is important and I found myself mulling over everything after I finished the book. There were not any wasted scenes that didn’t have a purpose and move the story along.

I enjoyed how animals, unsuspecting dogs, are presented as the bodyguards sent to protect Brianna. This is just one aspect of the occupational hazards she now risks, she needs protection and it comes in the guise of dogs.

The solution to all the multiple storylines was satisfying and even though pieces may have been suspected I was not anticipating how everything tied together. Kudos.

Mary Stanton has a winner on her hands. She has a solid heroine and finely crafted plots with a growing cadre of interesting supporting characters. I eagerly await the next installment in this series along with the expanding fan base.

For your convenience you may purchase a copy here.

Thank you for joining me today, see you next Monday for more musings and a writing update.  Until then I wish you many mysterious moments.

Part of the Book Blog Carnival

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Unknown said...

Welcome to Blog Book Review Wednesday. Thanks to you and others, this party was a success!

One more thing, be sure to add my badge (or a link back) to the end of your post. This lets readers know that you are participating in the blog party and makes going back & forth between the reviews easier!

Stay tuned for Friday AM, when I announce the winner of the Amazon GC.

Again, I have enjoyed reading your review!


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