I’m no stranger to Eric McCarthy, having read the hilariously entertaining Heiress for Hire in 2006. I recall making plans to hunt down some of her contemporary stuff but never got round to it. Therefore, imagine my delight when I stumble upon this rather dark paranormal series built around the seven deadly sins and the fallen immortals, who have to somehow redeem themselves.
The story arc of Fallen intrigued me. The synopsis on the backcover reads:
New Orleans, 1840s. Sent to watch over the decadent city, the angel Gabriel loses himself in the liquid pleasure of absinthe. So when his mistress, Anne, is murdered—and all evidence points to him—a foggy Gabriel cannot be sure he didn’t do it. His penance: to be forever denied love. Should he seek pleasure with a woman, she’ll suffer the depths of despair …
New Orleans, today. Hoping to unlock that unsolved murder mystery, forensic scientist Sara Michaels, Anne’s great-great-grand-daughter, meets the ageless, tormented Gabriel. To work together will mean suppressing their mutual attraction – he can’t allow himself to touch Sara, for her own sake. And for Sara, already familiar with the dangers of addiction, Gabriel poses the ultimate threat to her self-control. But will the desire burning between them turn into their salvation – or lead them both to destruction?
The heady promise of a murder mystery with paranormal romance, thwarted desires and suppressed passion thrown in was all it took for me to snap up the book, and finish it within hours. It was non-stop page turning suspense and drawn-out romantic tension, a sure-win concoction from the award-winning author.
This second book in the series deals with gluttony and having two main characters coming out of addictions threw them into an interesting conundrum. Both were understanding towards each others’ pain and suffering, and appreciative of each other’s reticence about sharing more than a common goal of unravelling a mystery. But their very unwillingness to be the first to explore their repress feelings and memories also proved to be a loophole that the killers played to their full advantage. I knew there was a twist somewhere when the serial killer was discovered, and seemingly subdued.
What worked for me is the way Ms McCarthy drew out the tension between Gabriel and Sara. Two wounded souls searching for answers and atonement for their failures in life connect with each other, and finally find salvation in resolving a murder that haunts them both, and freedom in loving each other. The die-hard romantic in me found that irresistible. IMB rating 4.0.