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In Bertot’s (The Heart of an Assassin, 2009, etc.) latest novel, the servants of God and the minions of Lucifer do battle over a girl whose body houses the soul of a powerful dark angel.

In an unseen cold war, God’s Angels, advised by Christ and tasked with leading the dead into their next lives, battle Lucifer’s Takers, who absorb the souls they capture into Lucifer’s army. One of the most prolific Takers is called Tragedy, who’s drawn the ire of Angels for disobeying the rules that both factions live by—most heinously, she revealed herself to a human and directly harmed living beings. (The book thoroughly, if artlessly, introduces the rules that govern Angels and Takers in the prologue; mostly, they boil down to a philosophy of noninterference, which both sides largely ignore.) In order to protect his greatest asset, Lucifer hides Tragedy away inside Chris and Sharlene Sippleton’s newborn daughter, Char, which grants the infant otherworldly powers. But this also offers the Angels a unique opportunity, allowing them to influence Char as she grows up, and turn their enemies’ soldier into an ally. To do this, however, the Angels will have to break the same tenets that Tragedy once flaunted. Although Bertot’s novel has plenty of angelic saber-rattling, car crashes and other action, the story is essentially about the choice between teaching one’s enemies or simply destroying them. Char’s growing pains, as she’s influenced by Tragedy, a trio of Angels and her own parents, make the story an engaging metaphor for parenthood. Chris and Sharlene’s banality makes their personal struggles relatable, despite the outlandish trappings. However, a subplot involving a persistent journalist, Michelle Davis, and her police-captain love interest, Darren Washington, investigating supernatural happenings is distracting and adds little to the story.

A paranormal thriller that, despite some perplexing digressions, strikes a nice balance between supernatural action and psychological thrills.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1500480219
Page count: 296pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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