Book Review: Angel Eyes


Angel Eyes by Shannnon Dittemore uses the bible story from 2 Kings 6 where her dark tale springs forth into one of love and suspense.

Brielle moves back to her hometown of Stratus, Oregon. She has changed, but her friends and town are the same. Brielle meets Jake when, on her first night, she is trying to disappear as she uses her dance teacher’s studio to dance and sees Jake laughing. Jake seems to make endearing mistakes, being misunderstood, and Brielle and him start a friendship based on mystery and intrigue. Jake is the new student in her high school the same day she returns to school. He becomes her friend as Brielle’s world trembles on the edge of a melt down. An undeveloped role of film of her dead friend makes her break down and cry right into Jake’s presence. What Brielle doesn’t realize is how prevalent the supernatural world is in the terrestrial world and how she and Jake would be used in a battle between evil and good. Brielle’s character and internal dialogue are witty and brilliant.

Dialogue can, at times, be stunted or nothing remarkable, but it still keeps the flow of the story going even in a good story. The last time I read great dialogue was in a historical romance called, Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden. Dittemore’s dialogue is believable. It even makes you chuckle. Brielle has a sarcastic humor. Sarcasm cloaks her grief. Her friends don’t know how to reach through her grief. One friend manages to do so, but it’s Jake who is mysteriously always around when Brielle needs him, like when she gets lost in a storm and breaks her ankle.

That’s when things change between Brielle and Jake. Their interest in each other goes up a notch and when he heals her broken ankle she is afraid and emboldened to find out why. Over the next few pages afterwards Jake slowly without words at times reveals that his guardian is a guardian angel or a Shield. The story speeds up here and gets intense. That’s when Brielle’s dark begins to slowly lighten. Jake gifts her with a halo that warms her soul and helps her think straight. Eventually, she is able to think past her grief and be herself without the halo, but it’s God’s love that helps her see better.

Like viewing a painting that starts dark from the top and slowly lightens as your eyes travel to the bottom, the main character whose story is told in first person, Brielle, shows grief well. Writers are required to show and not tell, and Dittemore shows grief in dark color. The fear and sorrow seep from her pores like black ick. That’s how Dittemore’s demons (or fallen angels) see fear—an oily, black substance that pools from our soul onto the floor, spreading to others. It’s a good description of fear. Brielle grieves and shoulders the blame for her friend’s murder in the city and struggles with the questions.

Questions are eventually answered. Did Marco really kill her friend? They found him bent over her bloody body crying and because of the bruises in weeks past it looks bad for Marco. Brielle gets a phone call from her friend’s mother who says Marco has escaped jail. Rumors say he’s coming after Brielle. But there’s more than just an abusive boyfriend who is coming after Brielle. A demon has his eyes on Brielle and Jake—mostly Jake. Throughout the story, we discover old history between Jake’s guardian, Canaan and the demon. It is from the old bible story. Dittemore ties the story together with the title and the bible story by explaining Angel Eyes and showing us her version of the supernatural world. In this story, Dittemore also attempts to answer the question: Why did God spare Brielles’ life, but take her mothers’ life or her friends’ life?

Angel Eyes is a keeper and has earned a place on my shelf for future re-reading, which is why I gave it five stars. The writing reminds me of the descriptive style of secular romance writer, Kathleen Woodiwiss. Some readers of Woodiwiss’s style have complained she is too descriptive. If you like Woodiwiss, you’ll like Dittemore. Her descriptions are fabulous. You can see, hear, feel, and smell each page. It’s like you are in Brielles’ world. It’s like you are Brielle. Dittemore is masterful at first person.

There are two other books in the series. One is coming out in February.

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In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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