In his former life West was a soldier, a sniper who killed target after target until one day he found himself on the wrong end of a bomb and became an assassin of a different kind—one anchored to an archangel. The archangel Raphael holds West’s undead life in his hands; he is also West’s ticket into heaven. With wings, but forbidden to fly, with the ability to walk the earth even after being killed, but unable to truly live a life he desires, West is sent to dispatch the truly evil and at their moment of death, he has to endure the assimilation of all their memories. West’s life is hell, a purgatory that seems endless while he earns his place in heaven, until he meets Tao.
Tao has no memory of who he was—worse yet, he has no idea what sort of person he’s been. All he knows is trying to survive each day, begging for money, living in a squat with vile roommates, and forever being hungry, cold, and confused. When he bumps into West and saves his wallet from being stolen, Tao’s first instinct is to run away for West feels dangerous. However, it will turn out that West is the only thing truly safe in Tao’s life for he’s not what he seems and the world as Tao knows it is about to turn upside down. West holds a secret that threatens his chances of ever achieving heaven. He has made a pact that eats away at him every day, but he is helpless to dissolve it for if he does he will condemn his brother to eternal damnation. Now Tao is in danger because of that pact and West must decide if Tao is the price he is willing to pay to see an end to his brother’s suffering. But how can he give up the one man who finally has broken through his shell and awoken his heart?
Archangel’s Assassin by Barbara Elsborg is an electrifying paranormal story that is rife with intrigue, mystery, and passion. This story is a stunning, action packed novel that thrusts the reader into it’s frantic pace and grips one by the throat. With danger at every turn, West rides a razor’s edge serving both light and dark forces and trying to carry the burden of guilt over his brother’s death. When he meets Tao, his first reaction is to push the man away—for Tao is so pure, so sweet, and so innocent. However, Tao is much more than he seems and as his memory finally begins to return in small dribs and drabs, West discovers just what Tao is and realizes the danger the man is in, especially being tied to West, himself.
I love a good sex scene as much as the next person, but I often feel that there is a bit too much sex and not enough story in most novels these days. Elsborg strikes just the right balance and does so with emotionally moving and sensual accuracy. The intimate moments between West and Tao are breathtaking and both passionate and playful—much like Tao himself. It’s a real delight to watch West morph from this embittered, closed off killer into a compassionate and caring man—a man who’s in love but terrified to admit it. Their relationship is just pure magic to watch unfold. I loved these two men together and the action sequences that surrounded their love story made the pages of this book just fly by.
I think my only complaint with this novel was the ending. It felt so abrupt to me after all they had gone through, the endless worry and the staggering plot twist near the end of the novel, I felt the neatly tied up ending didn’t do justice to such an incredible story. It not only felt a bit forced but also awkward, with just a few too many questions as to what future lie in store for West and Tao. Don’t worry, theirs is a happy ever after ending, but as to how exactly that was going to pan out was left a bit up in the air. To try to explain any more would be to give away too much of the ending and that would ruin the story for you, but suffice it to say that I felt a bit unsatisfied with how the author chose to wrap up this novel.
Despite the abrupt feel to the ending, I really did fall in love with these men. Tao and West were a match made in heaven—no pun intended. The story was solid, well written, and action packed. I thoroughly enjoyed Archangel’s Assassin by Barbara Elsborg and would highly recommend it to fans of the paranormal genre without hesitation.