Let me begin by saying that writing a novel is a terrific achievement. I know, having written one ~ and only one. My hat is off to anyone who can complete a novel.
That said, here is my honest opinion of Gabriel, a paranormal action/thriller romance by Tina Pollick which I finished reading last weekend.
Characters: Tina does a great job with her characters starting with protagonist Calla Stevens. Calla is a young, spirited ER nurse who possesses the paranormal power of psychic healing.
Her co-star is the arch-angel Gabriel, here on Earth in mortal form with his arch-angel brothers to hunt down the demonic Kematians. Gabriel, though powerful, is strait-laced and innocent, and plays a great straight-man to volatile Calla.
Calla glared at him. “I thought you understood that I will not take orders from you. Not about this, not about anything. The last time you left me your kiss-off note I’m pretty sure I listened to you then as well as I’m going to listen to you now.”
Gabriel was shocked. She almost died the last time she ignored him, and now she was challenging his authority? How was he going to keep her safe if she refused to listen?
A cast of friends, relatives, co-workers, and hideous demons supports the pair during the course of the story, including Baal, the leader of the Kematians.
Their leader, Baal, reached his clawed hands out, gripping his servant’s neck with fierce strength. “If you fail me, I will dine on your entrails while your screams echo within the earth.”
As you can see, Tina leaves little doubt about who her characters are.
Plot: On earth in semi-mortal form (he still has wings) to hunt down the demonic Kematians, archangel Gabriel falls for courageous ER nurse Calla Stevens. Together, with Gabriel’s six brothers, and a small, improbable band of humans, they face overwhelming odds in trying to save humanity from the voracious demon army.
Setting: Detroit. Although the narrative doesn’t take readers to any well-known Detroit landmarks — I would’ve loved a nod to the John K. King Used And Rare Books Building — Tina does offer some nice setting description to orient readers in her scenes.
She lived only a few blocks from the ghetto, and it had as many advantages as disadvantages. The upside was the cheap rent and being close to the hospital. The downside, well, it was close to the ghetto.
She approached the section of city blocks that housed abandoned buildings with broken windows and empty littered parking lots. This area had once bustled with shop rats building the American car, but now it sat as empty as the pockets of the local merchants. The stillness was eerie. She still wasn’t used to it.
The darkness cast shadows, making the familiar area appear foreign. Trees that waved proudly in the distance by day now towered like monsters. The hair on her neck rose with each step she took.
What I thought could’ve been done better: I would’ve liked to have seen more about Baal and his Kematians.
Set free by an earthquake from their angel-forged underground prison in the novel’s first pages, the Kematians fly to all corners of the Earth — including Detroit — to wreak havoc on the human race.
Alas, we then lose track of these fascinating creatures, except for when our principals encounter them. They are an intriguing idea, imho, deserving of their own plotline and agenda threaded throughout the story.
That of course, would open the window to even providing a touch of sympathy for the Kematians, one of the keys to making truly engaging villains.
Calla is certainly an engaging character, but she herself wonders why an angel would fall for her. Throughout the book Gabriel repeats that she is his soulmate, and the missing part of him. I thought this could have used a little more support and clarification.
What I thought was good: I enjoyed Tina’s vivid, verbal writing. She holds nothing back.
It lifted its head, and yellow eyes with black irises glared at Gabriel. Drool spilled from its mouth. Then it flicked out its tongue and collected the red-coated saliva and lapped it up. The Kematian lifted the pale arm with blue veins and slashed the girl’s throat. Her body convulsed for a brief moment and then nothing.
Note all the vivid verbs in these few short lines: “glared,” “spilled,” “flicked,” “lapped,” “slashed,” “convulsed.” Verbs are the muscles of writing, and strong verbs like these — where appropriate — give intensity to Tina’s story.
Gabriel features a nice cast of characters too — none of them just along for the ride. Tina gives each one dialogue, action and physical description, the three dimensions of characters.
The physical description isn’t over-long — just enough to give the imagination something to work with.
Robert walked into the room and closed the door. “I see you are telling sad stories, again.”
Calla turned, stood, hesitant at first, and gently wrapped her arms around the short, stocky man. His white beard brushed the side of her cheek and brought an immediate smile to her face. She released her grip and turned toward Gabriel who was now standing.
“No, not sad, just the truth. Gabriel, this is Dr. Robert Williams. He’s like a grandfather to me.”
Tina does a good job with the emotions of her characters. They come through as vividly as any fight scene.
Calla trudged out of Saginaw General Hospital emergency room, covered with splotches of dark red, blue, and the occasional dried green. She shook her head as she remembered.
“Damn it. Shit.”
Eric, a paramedic and friend, came over to her, “Calla, is everything all right?”
“Just fucking perfect.” Tears fell down her pale skin. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to be rude. Let’s just say it was a bad shift.”
“That bad, eh? Come on, let’s talk.”
They ambled toward the side of the hospital where all the smokers congregated. At this time of the night, the place was empty except for the two of them. Sitting down at a wooden picnic table covered with graffiti and carvings, he looked at her expectantly.
“Two more kids came in with their throats nearly ripped out. We stabilized them. Then they were gone,” Calla said.
Tina obviously loves her characters, but doesn’t hesitate to put them in harm’s way. She creates plenty of nasty problems for them, one of an author’s primary jobs.
Overall: Gabriel is an emotional, action-packed story of angels and demons swirling around a strong, colorful female protagonist. The bad guys could’ve used a little more attention, but in the main, Tina’s tale has everything a reader of paranormal action-romance could want, served up in fine, colorful style.
Good job, Tina!
And for a sexy superheroine paranormal sci fi romantic adventure thriller, check out my own novel American Goddesses ~ thanks for visiting Honest Indie!