Title: Gabriel (Order of the Black Knights: Book Five)
Author: RK Staunton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 220 Pages
Category: Mystery/Suspense, Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: I might recommend this one a little more highly to those who are already fans of the series. This book was good, but not great.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.
Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.
Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.
What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bring Gabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.
Review: Gabriel is the fifth book in Dreamspinner Press’s Order of the Black Knights series, and the first in the series that I’ve read. Each book is meant to be a standalone, but I can’t help wondering if I would have gotten a bit more out of it had I read more from the collection. The book was good; it held my interest. But, there were a few moments where I wondered if I was missing something. If perhaps it would have been better if I had more knowledge of Moriel, the devil with whom Gabriel struck a bargain all those years ago. We get a sense of how all of this began for Gabriel in the prologue; when we meet him, he has been shot, as a result of a mob deal gone wrong, and he has a life-flashing-before-your-eyes moment.
Then the memories shifted and changed. They became older, much older, and morphed through hundreds of years and showed things centuries before his own time – things he couldn’t possibly be familiar with – and yet they were familiar, and as real as intimate as the steel of the gun in his hand. They tunneled back farther and faster, and finally converged on the moment some eight centuries earlier when he sold his soul to the devil.
The prologue left me feeling a bit mixed up, to be honest, and I had a difficult time getting into the story because of it. The pace started to pick up in chapter one, and I was able to start connecting to the story more starting from there. There was also the use of a third POV in a handful of the chapters that I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it was cool that the author put us inside of Eric’s head, but, on the other hand, the usage was inconsistent. Once we were given that viewpoint, it seemed like we should get more from his perspective. Instead, we got the couple of chapters in the beginning, but then not another peep until chapter fourteen.
One thing I like very much about the book, and I think is a cool tenet of the series, is the idea that each of the black knights has some sort of a tether. That one person that can keep them grounded and bring forward their true self, quieting the blood-thirsty monster that is always waiting to take hold. This idea was portrayed really well in Gabriel. Lucas was that person for Gabriel, and I loved Gabriel’s unwitting reactions to him. Completely aware that Lucas made him feel calm and totally quelled the rage he felt simmering below the surface almost constantly, but unaware as to how it is was possible.
So, yeah… Mixed feelings on this one. I liked the characters. I totally dig the idea behind the series and the premise of this book. The action and suspense were great. I liked Gabriel and Lucas as a couple—I reeeaaally liked how cute Gabriel was in the beginning, getting Lucas his coffee at the co-op—but it drove me crazy that Gabriel kept calling Lucas “kid” and referring to him as “the kid” when it said in the book that Lucas was “perhaps five or ten years Gabriel’s junior.” And, I wish the ending had given us a little bit more resolution for some of the characters.
In this case, I might recommend this one a little more highly to those who are already fans of the series. This book was good, but not great, and I still wonder if there had been a bit more background on Gabriel’s past, and at least a little more emphasis on the paranormal aspect, if it could have been kicked up a notch or two.
You can buy Gabriel here:
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