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The Deal – 3 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the January 22nd stops on the blog tour for The Deal by S.C. Cunningham, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.

About the Book

The Deal
The Fallen Angel Book One
by S.C. Cunningham

Print/eBook Published 4 July 2017
Page Count: 463

Audiobook Published 23 September 2020
Length: 11 hours 32 minutes

Genre: Paranormal Urban Fanasy

Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have hot, feisty, rule-breaking Angels fighting our corner from the skies? Well here you go. You’re welcome 🙂

Fun-loving career girl Amy Fox is a new Angel, but for how long? Avenging personal scores, lusting after her partner, dishing out tough karma on evil ex’s, bullies, trolls, abusers, traffickers, animal hunters, drug dealers, violent crime gangs and competing hell Warlords… will have her thrown below ground!

At the age of four, Amy was taken…She survived.
A week later, another little girl was taken…She didn’t.

Angry that a bad man has gotten away with murder, feisty young Amy makes a deal with God. When she dies, if she’s been a good girl, would he let her sit on a cloud for a while, invisible, to get the bad people who slip through his fingers?

Her deal and God long forgotten, Amy mysteriously dies. Her lifeless body is found beneath a London underground commuter train.

She awakens in the afterlife to discover an international network of like-minded souls who’ve all made the same deal. A sophisticated MI5-esque justice machine sits in the skies, protecting, righting wrongs, tracking criminals, and working within strict rules of play… all against time.

Each country’s Unit shares intelligence, surveillance, and resources to deactivate dangerous situations. The only evidence they leave behind during their earthly visits is a small white feather sashaying to the ground.

In a chaotic world, powerful adversaries try to close her Unit down. A complex SAS vigilante has been assigned to work as her partner, but with his jealous violent ex on her heels and with her own vendetta to settle, Amy has never worked so hard in her entire earthly life. She has to wonder if making a deal with God was a mistake.

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My Review

My Rating: 3 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.

I was granted complimentary Audible access to The Deal by C.S. Cunningham as part of my participation in the blog tour for this title through Rachel’s Random Resources. Thank you to all involved! This has not swayed my opinion; my thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

The Deal introduces us to “fallen angel” Amy and her newfound coworkers. In this version of our modern world, people who make deals with their god before death that they will help deal justice if they can be permitted to hang around on earth and make a difference in the world after death. Amy survived childhood sexual abuse and has a vendetta again child abusers in particular, and her zeal for executing her own flavour of justice is getting her in trouble with the higher ups in her unit of vigilante angels.

I absolutely love the premise behind this book and series! The way this book was pitched to me reminded me of Tad Williams’ The Dirty Streets of Heaven, but with a romantic element. Vigilante angels? Heck yes, give me all of it!

The reasons this book gets 3 stars out of 5 for the story itself are structural editing issues and the strong emphasis I need to put on content warnings.

Content warnings: Graphic description of sexual acts (both with and without consent), graphic violence, murder, exploration of the phycological trauma created by childhood sexual abuse. If you have trauma relating to these issues and are easily triggered by reading this type of content, this book is NOT for you! This book may also be emotionally distressing to parents of young children.

As for structural editing issues, this book has a lot of scenes that are repetitive. Characters relay the same information to multiple other characters separately and we the reader (listener) have to hear it blow for blow again. Scene-setting conversations (such as Amy’s phone conversation in the very beginning as she unknowingly walks to her death) last a little too long. Jumping between past and present while also jumping between point of view characters so frequently gets quite disorienting at times, and given that this is now an audiobook and the reader isn’t visually processing the chapter headers, it became more apparently that there isn’t enough distinctive character voices written into the narrative to help the readers keep it all straight.

Those issues aside, this is a very entertaining book with a lot of action, and I have high hopes for the rest of the series.

In terms of narration, I would give the performance 4 out of 5 stars. Generally speaking, Susan Knight’s voice is very pleasant to listen to and I would absolutely look for more books narrated by her. I do wish she was more able to distinguish between POV character voices. Part of that is on the material she was working with, but I didn’t detect any attempt to adopt a different pitch or manner of speaking to distinguish one character from another. I’d also like to comment briefly on pronunciation. My first note in this category is that whenever the word “pillow” comes up the narrator says “pellow,” and that’s a personal pet peeve of mine. If that were the only thing I noticed I wouldn’t have mentioned it. Much more distracting was that every time the text said “ethereal” the narrator said “erethral” which is very close to “urethral.” Personally, if I were the author or anyone else involved in approving the narration files, I would have asked for those lines to be re-recorded. (And I really hope I’m not putting my foot in my mouth and this is a Cumberbatch “pengwing” type issue where that honestly was the best take after many corrections.)

Story: 3
Performance: 4
Overall: 3 – 3.5

I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy and of paranormal romance as long as they are fine with the above mentioned major content warnings.

About the Author

CUNNINGHAM writes suspense thrillers and paranormal rom crime with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour and pulsating passion. Having worked in the industries she writes about, her novels offer a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction.

An ex-model, British born of Irish roots, she married a rock musician and worked in music, film, sports and crime (CID, Wanted/Absconder Unit, Major Crime Team, Intelligence Analyst, Crime Investigations).  She is owned by daughter (artist Scarlett Raven), three dogs and two cats. And GlamMa to a brand new grandson who has stolen her heart.

SUPPORTS CAUSES Veterans. Mental Heath. Animals, Environment & Child Protection.

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About the Narrator

Feisty Canadian Susan Knight has a confident, warm, strong, captivating voice. With 25yrs experience as a radio presenter, she is the voice of audiobooks, commercials, e-learning and training videos. She road cycles, power lifts, wake surfs and is a motivational speaker for children, adults.

After the success of ‘The Deal’, Susan is also recording book II of The Fallen Angel Series, ‘Karma’.

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Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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