Carla Rehse‘s The Accidental Gatekeeper was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight. While I didn’t agree to review it as part of the tour, I did receive a free copy for participating. And since Paranormal Women’s Fiction is a genre I’m loving right now, I gave it a read.
Turning the big four-five isn’t a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that’s gone to hell in a handbasket.
It’s bad enough that Everly’s drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband’s criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. And didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.
It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there’s bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town’s founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home.
After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town’s border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. However, soon all hell breaks loose!
Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of the mess she’s gotten into, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell she’ll figure it out in time.
I feel pretty middle-of-the-road about this book. I didn’t actually dislike it, but I also didn’t finish if feeling bereft for having come to the end. I appreciate that Everly is a 45yo heroine and that she’s trying to do her best in a difficult situation (having not done so in the past). But I also feel like the book is go, go, go from start to finish, which gives the reader no time to rest or to get to know any of the character. I finished the book having developed no attachment to anyone, not feeling what might have been a romantic sub-thread (I’m not even sure), or not particularly invested in the mystery.
The writing is perfectly readable and the editing seemed pretty clean. I personally hate the pretend cursing. Either let a character curse or keep it clean, but don’t half-ass it with, “How, at forty-five f-bomb years old….?” But that’s a personal preference. I also thought that the “I gotta protect my daughter” was over played. What I love about so many PWF books is that they show women over 40 as having selves outside of their husband and family. I thought Rehse’s focus on Everly’s motivation being her daughter dimmed this aspect of the genre significantly. Of course she wants to protect her daughter, but what else is there of interest about her?
I think others who enjoy PWF will like this book. As I said, I didn’t dislike it. It’s just not the best I’ve read.