Wednesday, 29 February 2012



The inspiration for Desert Angel materialized out of thin dry air. At the time it arrived I wasn’t thinking about stories, wasn’t wanting to write anything new. I was taking a break from visiting a failed investment in far Southern California, taking a break from thinking altogether, relaxing and clearing my mind and enjoying the landscape around me.

My wife and I were driving a rented convertible on a summery evening at dusk along a back road south of Desert Hot Springs. I don’t think we were talking; just admiring the stark arid country bordering the craggy ridges of Joshua Tree National Park. We passed occasional ramshackle houses with dusty vehicles, perhaps a small fenced area behind holding a few livestock. I found myself wondering about making a life in such a desolate area.

Once in a while I’d notice double ruts leading east into the badlands. Pickups? Four-wheelers? Would anyone be living out there? Why? The particular beauty of these parched flats? Some kind of work, geological or archeological, that related to this geography? Would a resident be antisocial or at the very least reclusive? . . . And I began picturing this trailer practically hidden in a crease at the base of ridge, the man who might have hauled it there and the others who stayed with him. I began to see this young blonde girl, so isolated, probably dragged there because her mother got attached to this guy . . . the girl was standing outside the trailer to get away from the adults quarreling inside . . . and Desert Angel began to breathe.

When I told Joanie what I was picturing, we both began to imagine what the man and woman and girl might be like. My wife is a psychotherapist. Has been for over thirty years and has seen hundreds in private therapy. Both of us have also worked with abused, runaway girls in adolescent psych units and at-risk schools.
We discussed Angel’s fundamental innocence. In spite of having some gruesome experiences and having lived in several different homes, Angel did not know much about the outside world. She rarely attended public school and when she did, she was a “new girl” stranger. The informal education she received was through her mom’s home-schooling efforts. She didn’t go to movies or concerts. Her “culture” was small and her only consistent friend, her mother. The parenting she experienced was reversed because Angel wound up taking care of her mom, reassuring, comforting, giving makeup advice and so on.

            We believed one of Angel’s greatest strengths would be a world-class radar alerting her to predatory men, coupled with a hyper awareness of her environment. She could sense when a man was sexually interested in her and she always created maps in her head, never knowing when she’d need to run to protect herself. Her mother’s failure to protect her, also forced Angel to develop to a fierce self-reliance.  
Thus, when others befriend her, she is suspicious. When someone like Rita offers support and affection Angel hardly knows how to respond. It seems too good to be true. And since Angel herself is in mortal danger, what if she brings that threat into Rita’s family environment? Angel’s desire to run and escape these confusing complications becomes nearly unbearable.

Girls like Angel might respond to honesty and caring over time. She had trained herself to observe others minutely and she scrutinized Rita’s words and behavior. Gradually Angel began considering whether she could trust people like Rita, Abuela, Ramon, and Vincente. We’re they who they seemed to be, a loving family dedicated to its members?

The more I thought about her, the more alive she became, and the more I wanted to tell her tale. I jotted down some sentences that same evening and didn’t stop for most of the next year.

Reviewed by Best Books Annmarie. 
Angel has been dragged about by her mum her whole life. One abusive boyfriend after another but Scotty the new boyfriend has crossed the line. After a massive fight Scotty kills Angel’s mum and buries the body. Now the only loose end is Angel, She knows what he did and she knows he will kill her next She needs to run but Scotty is a hunter and Angel is now the pray. Will Angel live to tell anyone what happened?

This book started with a bang. Readers are thrown into the action. I was shocked at what Angel had gone throw and you have a burning hatred for Scotty. He really loves causing pain which means his the target for the readers hate and anger. Within the first five chapters you get to grips with how far Scotty will go to kill Angel. While Angel is but a scared girl she is also smart and understands that crazy Scotty will never stop hunting her down.

I was amazed at how powerful the story was from the very beginning you see so much dark pain, anger and danger between Scotty and Angel. The book was about survival and it thrilled and scared me at the same time. I wanted to scream and shout along with the book I needed Angel to live and do well and while the book was only short it was packed to the max. Angel's fear and anger and the need to survive oozed through this book the whole way through. While Scotty sick need to hunt, kill and win gave me shivers.

I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I feared for Angel and wanted to kill Scotty myself. A master piece that had my heart racing to the very end!

Five stars.

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