Oooh, it sounds like I'm going to pan it now, doesn't it? Quite the opposite.
A little context: as many of you know or guessed, I lost a family member this past summer, which was (and still is) quite devastating (but I'm not saying this to get sympathy! Please: no sympathy comments. I'm serious.) I say it only to make this discussion make sense, because Fallen was the book I was reading through the whole long process of the events unfolding. And one thing about sadness: it can make you tired, so I was reading really slowly, a few pages a night and then zonk. So it was like this book took one long sad month to read.
And I couldn't have asked for a better book!
Fallen centers almost entirely two characters: fallen angel Gabriel and forensic scientist Sara Michaels. They're both tormented, trying to recapture their lives after awful tragedies. And they care about each other, treat each other with extreme kindness and come to understand things about each other from close, thoughtful observation. Was the psychological precision with which they observed each other unrealistic? I just don't know. What I can say is that it sure felt nice to be with these two characters acting this way at that particular time, compared to say, a smartass heroine and some monstery guys.
The world of the book was fabulous, too--a richly drawn New Orleans past and present, and a lot of the action takes place in Gabriel's apartment, which is a safe haven for them both. They even bring a little homeless kitten into the apartment. It was just such a comforting and pleasing read.
Not to make it sound boring. I mean, there are a couple pretty grisly murders--both happen offstage, but there are plenty of details, and a sense of danger. And a whole smoldery, sexy subplot where Gabriel and Sara totally want each other but can't be together for various reasons.
Overall, I would describe this as a thoughtful, somewhat psychological paranormal that I would highly recommend, especially if you're in a melancholy mood. This is part of McCarthy's "seven deadly sins" series of "dark paranormals." I can't say I found it so dark but labels can be so weird.
Covers, too. I can assure you, Gabriel is never a statue like it shows on the cover--he looks like a normal guy through the whole thing. And I always saw Sara's character as normal looking, too--not like the gorgeous creature on the cover. Who is that woman with the shiny beautiful hair and satiny back-baring dress and why is she hugging a statue?
I won this book from Wendy over at Kicks and Giggles (Thanks, Wendy!) I'm definitely going to read more of McCarthy's stuff. Other Erin McCarthy recommendations welcome! This book is also reviewed at Scooper Speaks and Romance Reviews Today.