There’s been a lot of buzz going around about Annette McCleave’s debut novel, Drawn into Darkness, and I can see why.
For centuries Lachlan MacGregor has battled demon thieves for the souls of the dead, carrying out his pledge to deliver them into Heaven or Hell. But his greatest challenge as a Soul Gatherer is now among the living.
Struggling to connect with her troubled teenage daughter Emily, artist Rachel Lewis turns to her enigmatic yet strangely compelling neighbor Lachlan for advice. As Lachlan soon discovers, the young girl has fallen victim to a seductive demon—a specter from the past using the unsuspecting women to fulfill an ancient prophesy and settle a hellish score with Lachlan himself.
In the race to save Emily and avert a disastrous power shift among the deities, Rachel and Lachlan forge an uncommon bond. But how can Lachlan tell the mortal woman he’s falling in love with that the next soul he’s been enlisted to gather—and deliver beyond—is her daughter’s?
The story itself doesn’t seem all that new, but McCleave offers her own twist on the relationship between Death, God and Satan that makes the novel stand out on its own. First off, I have to say that I love the fact that Death is a girl. I mean, we all know that Death is a bitch, but who knew it was a characteristic. :)
Okay, seriously tho, I like the idea of the Soul Gatherers. The fact that they are men who were doomed to purgatory but were given a second chance is kind of fascinating. They are men who were not necessarily good in their mortal life, but still had some redeeming qualities about them and were given a second chance at life. I like the idea that not everything is black and white and there is a chance at redemption even after death.
In this first novel of the Soul Gatherers series, we’re introduced to Lachlan ( a 400 year old Gatherer) and Rachel (the mother of a teenager). Even though this is a paranormal novel, I have to say that the relationship obstacles thrown at Lachlan and Rachel seem more realistic to me than anything I’ve read in a long time. They don’t automatically fall into bed together; their eyes don’t meet across a crowded room and there’s instant love/lust; they’re not thrown together due to a villain. They live in the same building and not on the same floor. They meet randomly and with Rachel having a teenage daughter, any kind of romance between the two would have to work with that and not be instantaneous. I like that McCleave made it so both found what they were looking for (each other) without doing anything cheesy or just “making it so”. I will say however, I did find the novel to be a little slow, but I think that’s mainly because Rachel and Lachlan had such a realistic approach to their blooming relationship that it was different from other novels. It wasn’t quick and the action augmented the events surrounding their romance instead of taking away from it. We weren’t thrown into anything and were allowed to enjoy the ride.
With that said, each time I opened the novel, I was launched right back into the story and did enjoy the ride. The events blended beautifully and we were introduced to some great side characters that I can’t wait to meet later on. Plus, I do have to say that I love the ending. A Soul Gatherer is all about redeeming himself and McCleave keeps to that mentality even at the end. I’m not going to say anything beyond that because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but the more I think about the ending, the more I like.
Overall, this is a great start to a new paranormal romance series and Annette McCleave is going to have a smashing hit on her hands. Drawn into Darkness comes out tomorrow morning and you will definitely want to be at the bookstore to get your hands on a copy. Or at least bug your librarians for copies.
Drawn into Darkness
Bound by Darkness (May 2010)