Covet - J.R. Ward I am going to admit something shameful. I have not read the Brotherhood books by this author that everyone else has read ages ago. Because of this I have no expectations. I’m only hoping for a decent paranormal that doesn’t bore me to death with endless action and subplots. I don’t think I could stomach another one of those right now. I’m reading this on audio and the narrator is a guy (I usually prefer a woman) but he’s doing a decent job even though he sometimes sounds like Casey Kasum. I’m waiting for him to end a chapter with “Keep your feet on the floor and keep reaching for the stars.” which makes me laugh at the oddest of places in the story. I really hope he sneaks it in there somewhere.

If I’m following the setup correctly this is the beginning of what appears to be a series of seven or eight books, perhaps? Behind the scenes angels and demons are engaged in a battle and one human will be chosen to determine who wins it for them. This human must save seven souls from one of the seven deadly sins but naturally the demons being evil and all aren’t going to play fair.

Jim is a construction worker with a mixed sense of morality which is why he is the choice of both the angels and the demons for their little end of the world game. The day after his 40th birthday he meets the angels and learns of his mission. The angels aren’t very angelic in manner and the narrator gives them all accents which made their banter even funnier. Several sound like Simon Cowell while another sounds like that sexy Australian guest chef they always have on tv’s “The Biggest Loser”. I sure hope we get to meet the demons if the angels are this offbeat.

But the book isn’t all about the funny, soon after the angels make their appearance it takes a turn towards the dark and pretty much stays there. The characters are troubled and all are a bit mysterious which is what hooked me right off. I was unsure who was the good guy or gal and that kept me reading in the early stages of the book. The author does a fantastic job of making her flawed characters realistic. Not always likable but realistic. The main characters have brutal pasts and many secrets and that horrific baggage has shaped them into who they are now. This isn’t the minor fluffy stuff that torments many a hero/heroine in romance novels and drives me up a wall when they start up with the Eeyore act. These are traumatizing, life altering events.

Jim’s now a fallen angel and his first subject is Vin DiPietro. Vin is a successful businessman and is about to engage himself to a gorgeous but strangely secretive beauty. Vin is one of the tormented men who starts off the book as cold and unemotional. I’m curious to see which of the seven sins belongs to him. I’m guessing it’s either greed or pride but hey maybe he’ll get lucky and it’ll be lust.

The book alternates between Jim, Vin and another main character named Marie-Terese who is working as a prostitute. She loathes what she must do but is determined to pay her debts. Why she couldn’t find another option, any other option (perhaps working two normal jobs?) to pay off that debt though is beyond me. It’s not like she was an undependable junkie-type and this felt too contrived. Marie-Terese remains shrouded in a cloud of mystery too. And I’m not being sarcastic for once. I actually enjoyed all of this mysteriousness. It made me want to keep on listening. This author has the secret to the ever elusive hook many books seem to be missing.

I won’t go into the plot any more than that and will only say that I mostly enjoyed the book and am glad to have finally discovered this author. It captured my attention and wasn’t so action packed that I ever became lost and the author’s “voice” worked for me. My interest began to wane a bit midway and I never became fully emotionally involved in Vin and Marie-Terese’s love story for whatever reason. Actually my attention began to drift when they got together. But I’m cold like that. So, it just misses being a four star book (I’d give it 3 ¾’s if I could) and probably isn’t one I’d read again but I’ll be checking out the sequels. For now I’m off to rescue all of those brotherhood books from tbr purgatory.