Saturday, August 11, 2012

ARC Review: Grave of Angels by Michael Prescott

Grave of Angels
Author: Michael Prescott
Publication: Thomas &. Mercer (August 7, 2012)

Description: Kate Malick’s first calling was as a Carmelite nun, a life devoted to prayer and faith. Now she runs a Hollywood security service dedicated to protecting its clients. But Kate’s most troublesome client, teenage celebutante Chelsea Brewer, is a walking, talking, slow-motion train wreck who’s testing that devotion. The poster child for the pitfalls of childhood fame and fortune, Chelsea careens from one party to the next, riding the ragged edge between celebrity…and fatality.

When a huge bet is placed on her impending demise, Chelsea disappears, forcing Kate to leap into action. Searching Hollywood’s darkest corners and seediest hiding places in a desperate attempt to find her client, Kate uncovers a tangled conspiracy of revenge and betrayal. But time is running out, and if Kate doesn’t find Chelsea, the bet will leave one person rich, one woman shattered, and one young girl dead. Flying at a breakneck pace and full of unrelenting tension, Grave of Angels journeys full-tilt into the dark side of fame.

My Thoughts: Kate Malick is the owner of Guardian Angels, a security firm that serves high-profile celebrities. One of her more colorful clients is Chelsea Brewer who is a 21-year-old star on the road to self-destruction. When a large bet is placed at a website that takes bets on when celebrities will die and Chelsea is kidnapped that evening, Kate is on the case. Kate is also on the case of the runaway daughter of her secret lover - fading movie star Carson Banning. And  to add even more excitement, Kate is receiving death threats and is being followed by someone who wants to kill her. She thinks it is the ex-husband she abandoned by the side of the road in the desert after he beat her when she was nineteen.

This is a story with a really twisted villain named Jack Swann who is one scary dude. He was a previous partner in crime with Chelsea's less than ideal father Sam. Swann is a murderer, a psycopath, and a control freak. He was hired by the father of one of Chelsea's gal pals who died as a result of the partying. That father thinks Chelsea should pay - with her life - for the heartbreak she brought on his family.

Chelsea's mother is her agent and seems to only be interested in Chelsea for the 25% she gets from each contract. She is a master of denial and refuses to believe Chelsea has been kidnapped at first. Once she finally realizes that the kidnapping is real, she does seem to want her back. But I was left wondering if it was because of love or money. Chelsea's father is a petty criminal who has sponged off her and her mother for years. He is completely selfish and doesn't care for her at all. I felt really sorry for Chelsea even while I thought she was making bad choices in her life. Her one friend seems to be her poodle Chanticleer and Swann kills it shortly after kidnapping her.

None of the characters in the story story were particularly admirable people. Because of the number of viewpoint characters - Kate, Swann, Chelsea and Sam, we got a chance to get to know them and know what motivated them. The story had a very cinematic feel. I could imagine this one as a movie. Maybe something Quentin Tarantino would do.

If you are looking for a gritty mystery about the perils of celebrity and the sorts of people who want it, this is the story for you. The writing is engaging and colorful. The characters are realistically drawn in shades of gray.

Favorite Quote:
"Then you should want to help me. Because I'm not from the government. And if Chelsea dies, people who are from the government will be paying you a visit, and they won't be as sociable as I am."

He paused. "That's the first intelligent statement you've made."

"I'm still waiting for yours."
I received this ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. You can buy a copy here.

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