This is the second book in a imaginative paranormal cozy series set in Savannah Georgia. This story revolves around a troubled wealthy family whose patriarch recently died in a car accident — but he insists from the grave that he was murdered. Brianna is also representing the disturbed daughter who stole a girl scout’s box of cookie-selling money.
The reader follows Brianna as she starts from square one and has to figure out why her dead client is looking at Hell and the charge is treachery — against his own daughter. Secondly she is trying to prove in the here-and-now that he was murdered. Third she just knows the troubled teen daughter is acting out and that there is more than meets the eye in this family. Throw in some dark forces attempting to keep her from being successful at her celestial duties and it is a great ride.
I like Brianna as the main character. She is spunky and has her self-doubts at times which I can relate to. Brianna’s family is nicely done and adds to the story. Her sister is the one not living up the parent’s expectations with her interest in theater and there is a refreshing dynamic between Brianna and Antonia as sisters. I enjoy the family element in this series.
From the summary of the story you can tell there are a few story lines all being worked simultaneously in the story. Where that might have caused confusion, it was handled deftly and kept the pace moving in this case.
One of the aspects of the novel that I enjoy is the dialog. It is well done and flows smoothly and gives you character nuances. I am taking notes! I had to share an example of this. This is a daughter talking to her mother.
Madison reached forward and patted her hand. “I’m sure. I’ll come and tell you all about what’s going on in a bit. Have you done your Pilates yet? You go on and start. I’ll be in to, like, work out with you as soon as we’re through here.” She watched until her mother went through the swinging doors that led to the dinning room. As they closed behind Andrea, she got up, crossed the kitchen floor on silent feet, and put her ear to the door. She sighed noisily. “Mom!” She cocked her head, waiting until she heard her mother move away from the door, and then trailed back to Bree.
“My goodness,” Bree said. “There’s more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there?”
Description of the evil “forces” trying to stop Bree in her investigations are scary good and will give you goose bumps.
A strange, furnace glow sprang to eerie life in the depths of the open grave. And then, with the sly, stealthy movement of a creeping snake, a path of filthy green light crept over the lip of the hole and onto the ground.
…A figure jerked horribly up the path. The shape was manlike, but distorted, as if she saw it through the shield of a scum-filled pond. It seemed to be made of flesh and bone, but a pallid, dead white flesh that crawled with corpse-mold. The man, Bree saw, or what had once been a man, raised his arms in a dreadful summons.
Descriptions of Savannah itself make me long to go there for vacation — now.
In the three hundred-some years of her history, Savannah had been burned to the ground, ravaged by hurricanes, and bombed by pirates. A hodgepodge of architectural styles was intrinsic to the city’s heritage. Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian, Greek Revival, Spanish, and Art Deco homes existed peaceably cheek by jowl.
…The exteriror was blue-green stucco. Scarlet bougainvillea wound its way across the wrought-iron porches and balconies and the last of the hydrangea bloomed like puff-balls against the wrought-iron fence.
Every scene is important and I found myself mulling over everything after I finished the book. There were not any wasted scenes that didn’t have a purpose and move the story along.
I enjoyed how animals, unsuspecting dogs, are presented as the bodyguards sent to protect Brianna. This is just one aspect of the occupational hazards she now risks, she needs protection and it comes in the guise of dogs.
The solution to all the multiple storylines was satisfying and even though pieces may have been suspected I was not anticipating how everything tied together. Kudos.
Mary Stanton has a winner on her hands. She has a solid heroine and finely crafted plots with a growing cadre of interesting supporting characters. I eagerly await the next installment in this series along with the expanding fan base.
— A.F. Heart, Mysteries And My Musings]]>
Her latest human case is a spoiled rich girl who has robbed a Girl Scout, of all people. As she begins poking around to build a defense, the girl’s recently deceased father cries out to Bree that he didn’t die in the car accident as everyone believed. Soon Bree is working through a web of villains and deceits that have led Mr. Probert Chandler to be sentenced to the Ninth Ring of Hell. Not to mention that vile man, Josiah, from the past has escaped his grave and is now menacing Bree in a most chilling haunting.
Angel’s Advocate is a very intriguing, impossible to put down mystery. All of the characters are three dimensional and the supporting cast is very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed Ron and Petru’s bickering in the office and that Petru was forced to move his desk to the kitchen, otherwise known as the break room. Bree is a strong heroine who doesn’t back down in the face of adversity and the love she feels for her family and Sasha is tangible.
— CinLee, Romance Junkies]]>
Since I don’t usually read paranormals I was afraid there would be an overwhelming amount of unbelievable things happening. I didn’t want this to be distracting as that’s not my usual cup of tea. Overall, this wasn’t the case. There were a few things (like the slime) that didn’t really work for me, mostly because I just have a hard time believing in it, but I found the angels and their “extra” space around Savanna very fun.
My favorite part of this book, by far, was the eccentric and funny cast of angels sent to help Bree out. They range from a Russian paralegal, to a fashion conscious secretary, to a buff PI/bodyguard. The characters often had me laughing or shaking my head, but they were always entertaining.
I prefer my mysteries to be a little more hard core. Blood and guts don’t bother me at all. While this wasn’t my usual mystery book, I enjoyed this part of the story. However, I didn’t find the mystery as compelling as the characters were.
Since this is only the second book in the series, I would recommend starting with the first book, Defending Angels. This book really helped set the stage and set up all the relationships between the characters. (3.5 stars)
— Melissa, Shhh I’m Reading…]]>
In a nutshell: Angel’s Advocate is the second book in the Beaufort & Company Mystery series, following Defending Angels…but don’t worry – you don’t need to read the books in order, although after reading this one, you will probably want to go back and read the first if you haven’t already! This book is not simply for mystery-lovers. The tone and characters could easily bridge the gap for non-mystery readers as well. This was a delightful book, in which Mary Stanton was able to create a captivating legal-thriller, while weaving in a hint of home, some good-old-fashioned detective work, and some angelic help with a nice amount of humor to create a book that is very hard to put down.
Extended Review: Nothing seems to be normal for Bree! She inherited her late uncle’s law firm in Defending Angels, which is located at an address that only spirits can find, and she employs two angelic legal experts, and has an angelic guard dog. Bree generally spends her time working with the Celestial Courts defending those spirits who are appealing their sentences, but the book starts off when her aunt asks her to defend the 17 year-old daughter of a friend, who was video-taped stealing money from a Girl Scout selling cookies! While working on the case, the spirit of the girl’s father asks for help, simply telling Bree that he was murdered and that there is some connection to his business. Bree is determined that the cases must be connected in some way, and as she is working on both cases, she finds out that two evil spirits have crossed over “The Bridge” to the mortal world and they are determined to bring harm to Bree. As if that is not enough, Bree is offered additional help in the form of two additional angelic guard dogs. The story is a wonderful and amusing mystery, full of characters that will make you want to cozy up with a cup of something hot and read all through the night!
Characters: Bree and her sister Antonia seem to be very close and get along nicely. Her parents are enjoyable, and there is a hint of what-might-have-been in the form of Able. Bree’s celestial employees Petru and Ron (angels) add some off-beat humor and provide help as Bree learns about the legalities of the Celestial Courts.
Story-Line: I loved the combination of legal thriller / celestial paranormal that filled this book!
Readability: A very fun and enjoyable read.
Overall: I can’t wait to read what happens next in Winged Justice, Mary Stanton’s current project, and book 3 in the series!
— Wendi B., Wendi’s Book Corner]]>
Lindsey is all Bree expected, and worse. But during her visit to Lindsey’s home, Bree makes contact with another client. Probert, who died in a one-car accident four months ago, says he didn’t die in the accident. After checking it out with her staff and the Celestial Court, Bree discovers that Probert is in a lot of trouble in the next world. And she’s the only lawyer equipped to help him with his case.
The author does a great job of blending paranormal/angelic elements with the usual elements of a cozy mystery. There are still a lot of things about this gig that Bree doesn’t understand. According to her not-quite-human staff, she’ll just have to feel her way along. The reader is making the journey with her. It can be a bit frustrating at times, but that gives readers a window into Bree’s thoughts and actions. Cozy readers who like a bit of a ghost story will enjoy this series. (Rating: 7)
— Deborah Hern, CA Reviews