Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Coming of Age
Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words
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“Paul Micheals has been writing fiction in one form or another since he discovered role-playing games in the early 90s. As a teenager, he was fascinated with stories of swords, sorcery, and grit, and maintains that obsession to this day.”
Mr. Micheals lives in Los Angeles and enjoys cooking. Learn more about him at his website.
“His father murdered, his mother looking to him for support, Alexi Gallo needs a job and he needs it now. Bribed into working for a corrupt family friend, the only bright light is the easy money and beautiful, vulnerable Traci… Alexi is about to find out he's a pawn in a deadly conflict between warring immortals. When a mysterious and powerful relative appears, Alexi learns a story of immortality, demons, and feuds that aren't myth, but more real than anything he's known before. There's a battle coming, and Alexi must decide his allegiance…”
This was an intriguing and mysterious story. I got frustrated at the narrator early on because I couldn’t figure out who it was. In my mind it could have been more than one of the characters who were filling us in on past events a little bit at a time before each chapter. I found this jump back and forth in time confusing and it slowed the story down too much for my taste. It got to the point the elephant on the cover irritated me to no end because I couldn’t make the connection. The elephant had to be important, right? It was on the cover! The story was about at 47% before we learned about the elephant statue on uncle Darius’s desk and his dead twin sister’s love for elephants. Then around 64% we learned that Alexis’s own mother had an elephant collection. I am afraid I became obsessed about the elephant and the narrator to the point I almost quit reading the story at about 50%. However, I continued because the characters were compelling.
Alexi was in high school when his father was murdered, so he quit school to get a job to support his pregnant mother. He was approached by the mysterious Rudolph Dontinelli late one evening with promises of a well-paying job. Alexi succumbed to the man’s promises and was thrown into a gritty underworld of crime and prostitution as a runner. He becomes infatuated with Traci, a girl about his age, who has taken to a life of prostitution to clear her father’s debts. As the plot twists and turns Alexi is finally introduced to his uncle Darius, who is a lot more than he seems. Darius promises to take care of Alexi, and his sick baby sister, if he will come back to Sicily with him where he can offer him protection. The problem is Alexi wants to take Traci with him. Alexi’s idealistic picture of the world shatters when he starts feeling this mysterious power within himself. He needs uncle Darius to help him learn to control it and to protect himself when everyone seems to want his power.
So if you can read the story without obsessing about the elephant (like I did) and assume the story is being narrated by uncle Darius, which I am sure now it was, then you are likely to find this an entertaining dark urban fantasy. I found the magic fascinating.
Adult crude language abounds, so reader beware.
I noticed a small number of proofing misses.
Rating: *** Three stars