REVIEW: No Angel by Clare London
BLURB: Felix’s life is full, juggling a supportive homelife for his disabled brother, a job as a care home assistant, a brand new boyfriend—and now he’s had his arse pinched by a lewd gay ghost on the late night bus!
If only that were the end of it. But Bryn the ghost follows him home and wheedles himself into Felix’s life. That includes sharing his shameless opinions on the patronizing way Felix treats his brother, on how Felix should eat more food and put some flesh on his bones, and—worst of all—exactly how Felix should be getting down to it with his seriously sexy new boyfriend Mickey! And in between all that, Bryn finds time to leer at Felix himself and make outrageous suggestions on what they’d be doing if Bryn wasn’t…well…ghostly.
Felix considers he’s a tolerant guy. But the last thing he needs now is to get wrapped up in the mystery of a missing teenage girl, the inhabitants of a local squat, and conversations with a fire-and-brimstone old preacher. Yet with a nudge or six from Bryn, the help of his brother Patrick, and some cozy loving from Mickey, Felix starts to wonder how he ever thought his life was busy before!
Genres: Gay / Paranormal / Ghosts / Hauntings / Voyeurism
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Novella (39k words)
Dear Clare London,
I like ghost stories and was very interested in reading one from you. Bryn the ghost was probably my favorite character in this novella. I liked his forceful, flawed personality, and I could see that he had a good heart. One could see the overwhelming loneliness he was hiding behind his sharp tongue and his attraction to Felix.
“::What do you mean, just one of those “out of body” things? That’s a shitty way to talk about a bloke you just travelled home with. Hell’s bells, if anyone’s got a right to talk about out of body things, it’s ME not you::
Felix said bolt upright on the bed, staring into darkness. “What the hell! You again? I left you on the bus!”
The Voice chuckled, though it sounded sharper than before. :: I was never really ON the bus, see? So you couldn’t really leave me there, could you? Besides , I enjoyed my chat with you so much I thought we might continue some more.::
“I’m going to sleep. I need to sleep.” Felix shook his head. “I’m talking to myself in the middle of my bedroom in the dark at two thirty in the morning. I’ve flipped”
I was ready to see where his character arc would go at the end, but unfortunately I felt that it went absolutely nowhere. I was left with the question – “what was the point?” I understand that this is a novella, but at 39000 words I thought that the ending did not have to be so abrupt.
I started wondering if maybe Bryn was supposed to be a supporting character and Felix was the main character, therefore Felix would be the one to have a character arc of some sort and Bryn was not due one. And Felix did have some growth and change, with Bryn helping him to achieve it. The problem was that I did not really care for Felix, so his character change did not make much of the impression on me if any. Actually, I think I should say not that I did not care for Felix, because he really was a good guy, I just did not understand him.
When we meet Felix, he is just about to pursue a relationship with Mikey, his best friend, only Felix is not sure whether he wants to take their relationship to a new, more than friendly level. A couple of times Mikey asks for more and Felix blows him of and I did not exactly understand Felix’ motivations. I know he kept saying that he was not worthy, but it just did not compute with me. As written on the page, Felix did not come off to me as lacking in self-esteem, him saying so couple of times notwithstanding – he did not *act* like that. In fact, he seemed to act the opposite way with Bryn, as well as when he involved himself in trying to find the granddaughter of one of his patients in the care home. In short, he confused me.
I thought Mikey was nice, but he was just not a very well developed character. He was a sweet, confident guy who clearly loved and wanted Felix very much. I guess I just wanted to see more of what these two saw in each other.
I actually thought that the suspense was the best part of the story. I thought that despite the seeming simplicity the couple of scenes in the house where they were trying to locate Sally (missing granddaughter) were really spooky. I thought that the story was paced really well too, but I just did not *get* the characters as well as I would have liked to.