Series: Dante Walker # 1
Published by Entangled Teen on March 25, 2013
He makes good girls...bad.
Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.
Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:
Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.
Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.
Other readers’ ability to enjoy this book will likely hinge on whether or not you believe Dante’s transformation is believable. If you read a few pages from the beginning and then skipped towards the end, you’d be amazed that the narrator is the same guy. But it worked for me. He changed for a girl. Not just any girl, but Charlie, who’s alternately tough and fragile, homely and beautiful (you’re going to have to read to see just how that one works), and always sweet, kind, and loyal. Because I believed that even someone as arrogant as Dante could fall for Charlie, I accepted his transformation. Actually, it becomes clear that that part of him was there all along, but the pain of his past life buried it deeply. When he falls, he falls hard, and it was hard for me to watch his pain as he risked his life to protect Charlie.
But enough about the romance. Let’s talk about the fact that this book is about a dead guy who works for the Devil and who’s assigned the job of “collecting” the soul of sweet, naive Charlie. This was a new one for me. Dante initially had no idea why he was sent to capture Charlie’s soul, and he didn’t care. It was just a job for him. When we find out why sweet Charlie is so important, the stakes are raised for the folks both upstairs and downstairs. If Dante doesn’t follow through on his commitment to Boss Man (The Devil), there will be hell to pay, and that’s not a metaphor. Likewise, the repercussions for Charlie are not pleasant, and this sets up an epic battle between good and evil, as as one side tries to take Charlie’s soul, and the other tries to protect it.
Victoria Scott gives Dante a great voice. Setting aside some of his douchier comments, she gives him a lot of humorous lines. He’s also got his kind, tender moments, although it takes a lot of work to drag that part out of him. Scott ends on a great cliff-hanger, and it looks like the sequel is set to come out in August!
Side note – If you like witty author banter, and if you’re not following @VictoriaScottYA, you should. She told me over Twitter that she would lock me in her basement and feed me mini chewy Sweet-Tarts. Yes, that was the essence of the Tweet, and yes, I completely stripped out any and all additional context that would reveal that it was actually very funny and sweet. So, even though I’ve implied she’s a kidnapping psychopath, I get the impression that she’d be OK with that. 🙂
Note – I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for review.