Publishing, £9.99, 201 pages, paperback, published 2003.)
"Porsche Winter has a problem ... as a fully fledged guardian angel,
she is charged with the safety of her clients at all times. But you
take your eye off the monitor for just one moment and the Devil is
in there with a demon snatching the soul from one of your clients.
But not just any client! Dreamboat and all round lust object Alex
So goes the publicity blurb for the first in
proposed series of novels staring Guardian Angel Porsche Winter. Porsche
is an up front and feisty character who in this first story gets literally
entangled with the Devil, when she loses the chase for a soul, and is
suitably demoted by her boss, none other than Gabriel himself. Finding
herself working in the day to day dullness of the dream factory, she
manages to contact Alex Chalmers through his dreams and the chase is
on to retrieve his soul from the clutches of Lucifer.
Throughout this story we are introduced to various characters who will
undoubtedly feature in the life of Porsche in the future, the most notable
being the legendary cupid, who is the small cherubic fun loving best
friend of Porsche, always there to advise and share a drink with our
Stephanie Bedwell-Grime takes us into the believable world of the hereafter
where Heaven and Hell are constantly at each other's throats for dominance
in the cut and thrust world of the afterlife. Heaven and Hell are run
as businesses, the whole place is run by accountants and civil servants;
when the Devil gets an upper hand, he manages to assert his authority
over Heaven, getting a controlling seat on the board.
Bedwell-Grime paints vivid pictures with her pen. We can visualise
the three stages of the hereafter, Heaven, The Netherworld and Hell,
with sideshoots such as the Purgatory bar thrown in for good measure.
Also the River Styx is brought vividly to life, where Porsche's father
works as the ferryman and his dog Cerberus stands guard by the mouth
of the Acheron. Wonderful stuff.
I liked this book very much, I found myself drawn into this beautifully
realised world, the characters all leap off the page as fully drawn
three dimensional figures with substance. The tale is told at a cracking
pace, and by the end of the book I was left gasping for breath and eager
for more. The story concludes in such a way that one is left in no doubt
of the fun and adventure that Porsche and her cast of characters have
ahead of her. To say any more would spoil a rather fun plot twist.
I suspect that the author is a fan of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie
Plum books as Miss Winter shares a few of Miss Plum's virtues and characteristics.
Like Plum, Winter has the potential to be around for a long time to
come. All the settings are in place for a terrific series of novels.
Review by Russell Cook.