Heaven Sent by Tracey Dalziel-Bush

Heaven SentHeaven Sent by Tracey Dalziel-Bush
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Heaven Sent was a challenging read. Classified as a paranormal romance thriller according to the author’s tag cloud on Smashwords, only two of these labels fit, and then only just.

The book opens with an introduction to Lilia, the main character, a trained assassin on a mission to rid the world of evil-doers. She’s on the hunt for her best friend’s killer, Ramon Blur. But Ramon Blur isn’t just a man. He’s something else and has every intention of taking her soul. But at the moment of claiming Lilia cries out to God for help and miraculously two muscle bound men appear, chasing Ramon away.

We never really learn much about Lilia’s background – how and where she was trained. It’s just a statement in her back story. We also don’t learn much about the history she shares with her best friend Gina, whom Ramon killed. The characters of Louis and Leon, Lilia’s rescuers, are introduced with very little in the way of back ground information. This led me to briefly wonder if I had somehow missed that this book was a sequel to another in which I might have an opportunity to learn who these people actually were.

We do however, learn who Ramon is – a twisted and ancient demon once tortured by Louis but for unexplained reasons, and bent on capturing Lilia – but only over the course of chapters and chapters and more chapters of saccharine dialog and emotional back and forth between Louis and Lilia, all alluding to danger but never giving us a real taste of action until we approximately half way through the book. This is also right around the time where we finally learn who and what Louis and Leon are – Nephilim.

We don’t see another round of action again until the end of the book. For a thriller there is a disappointing lack of anything in this story line that can be defined as thrilling.

While there may be a story line semi-unique to the genre nothing about this book read or felt original. The writing was weak, passive, and with a multitude of over used phrases. I could not count the number of times Louis gave a “wolfish smile”, “his voice was hypnotically soothing” and “full of black magic seduction”, “the hair on the back of her neck bristled”, someone wanted to “kiss that look right off her/her face” or did something “without conscious thought”. In addition there was a glut of “let’s not forget”, “well, maybe not exactly, but” and “right then and there” that, in combination with all the other aforementioned reasons, indicate an author undeveloped in her chosen field.

The text was riddled with editing misses from punctuation to grammar and could use a healthy and liberal dose of line-editing. I cannot imagine that it ever saw the keen eye of an editor which might have served to make something scarcely lukewarm into something closer to boiling. While the author is surely giving her best effort at telling a story she is encouraged to practice her craft and develop her unique style of writing – one that does read as if she has read a select few descriptive passages in a few of her favorite books and borrowed from them almost exclusively and most repetitively.

The ending was predictable and trite but kept in theme with the rest of the book in being unoriginal and disappointing.

Notable mentions: I will give the author kudos on an unexpected gem that stood out in an ocean of tawdry baubles; the phrase “her feminine core wept in invitation” caught the eye and garnered some appreciation for something that might have been original but may have just been an under-used phrase in her abridged thesaurus.

I also didn’t expect the story to take the explicit sexual turn toward the end. The author surprised me with just a little bit of heat which tells me she probably reads a lot of erotica as well as paranormal romance and this may be an experiment in merging the two.

Heaven Sent earns a rating of one star out of five based solely on the two notable mentions.

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