this book reads like a graphic novel: gritty, edgy very violent, and very big on atmosphere. i can see the splatters of lurid colors and inky textures as blood and gore mix with heaps of trash among the alleys and desolate structures of an urban neighborhood populated by hookers, the lost, the innocent, predators, and modern saviors.
the rather simplistic plot is perfect for the comic book, in fact. gabrielle cody is a 21-year old part-time author of an underground graphic novel series about an avenging angel on earth who saves the innocents but destroys the wicked.
a creative outlet, a way to earn money, cody’s writing is but a dim reflection of what cody has encountered and done over the years–for she has an ability to see auras and extreme malevolence at work. at certain times, a terrible pain will come over her, her reflexes speed up, and she will know that she is summoned to destroy evil.
she, as well as the priest who trained her in the use of her talent, believes she is God’s paladin, given a mission to seek out demons.
an orphan and loner, cody lives above a comic book store and her only friend its owner and her landlord–until detective luther cross comes along, investigating the death of a severely mutilated and cancer-riddled man. the detective is drawn to cody, appalled by her tough-as-nails attitude yet more so by her crusader-like attitude towards danger.
so what we have here are most of the great ingredients of an urban paranormal story: edgy plot, interesting characters, a rather desolate setting of a city, a geeky sidekick, and chemistry. What’s missing is brisk dialogue: the drawn out conversations that keep going in circles or stilted exchanges could get annoying.
there’s also a disorienting feel to Servant. she sees and destroys malevolence, cody says–but she could very well be just psychotic, and we the readers inside her mind are swept up by her delusions and fanaticism.
pity this is a text novel, because as it is, i just like it. but if it were a graphic one, i’d love it…. sometimes, it’s not the story that’s off, it’s the medium.