Caleb is good at his job; being one of the three angels of death means culling those who either make a deal with a higher being to end their life or are being snuffed out because it has been decided their time is up. Living centuries and being created for one specific task and nothing more means that Caleb must not only try to assimilate to each new era he finds himself in, but do something to fill the downtime between assignments. This time he is a professor and grading papers definitely needs some support in the form of a glass of wine. The knock on the door means Lemuel has arrived with a new job—but this one is different and Caleb isn’t sure why. All he does know is that the paper with the image on it has not only made him uneasy, but actually causes him to feel something decidedly human—a paper cut that bleeds. The only problem is Caleb is immortal and he never, ever bleeds.
The job takes him to a remote area of Alaska to a man named Leandro. He is a man who Caleb finds irresistible and familiar, yet that can’t be, for the two have never met before. But Caleb is soon to discover that Leandro holds the key to a past filled with love and danger—and time is running out to discover just how and why the tattoo Leandro wears over his heart is one that only Caleb could have given him.
Vivien Dean has rereleased her novel from the original Boys of the Zodiac series called Forgotten Faces. It is a paranormal mystery that is very smartly written. This is no detective type whodunit, but a very elaborate and twisted conundrum of why an immortal angel of death would have somehow marked a man and then been sent to kill him. This story had me guessing to the very end and, honestly, it was pretty intense throughout. Not only was the relationship between Leandro and Caleb scorching hot, but the juxtaposition of this cold, calculated killing machine (Caleb) to this warm, kind, and caring man (Leandro) was a great match up.
The plot all boils down to why Caleb doesn’t remember Leandro—who obviously not only knows Caleb, but loves him deeply. Over the course of the book, we discover the subplot just as Caleb does and we watch his transformation from an uncaring, rather bored killer to a man who has known love and was willing to sacrifice everything, including his own life, to preserve it. When the story finally lets us in to the reasons behind the assignment Lemuel presents to Caleb, it is almost heartbreaking to learn. These two, Leandro and Caleb are fated to be together—even in death.
I really enjoyed this story. The dialogue is smart, the characters intriguing, and the plot so twisted that my interest was piqued and held firm to the end. For a paranormal take on death, I thought the author really gave us a new and refreshing view of an age-old figure that is so often depicted as a one dimensional, uncaring killing machine. Caleb is so far from that idea; instead, he is flawed and capable of falling in love, of wanting to be more than death. He wants to experience life in its fullest and that makes him fascinating and different.
Forgotten Faces has weathered the years between its first debut until now quite well, in my opinion. I think it may find a whole new group of fans who loved it as much as I did.