This review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies
Desert Angel by Charlie Price isn't at all like I expected it to be, but still enjoyable. I did think when I first started it, that it would be a psychological thriller of one young girl in the desert trying to stay alive and evade her evil step-father. And it is, but instead of this being a survivalist story, Angel has a fair bit of help.
In fact, she's passed around by several families and hidden in out of the way villages. And at first, I was a bit disappointed in this turn of events, but in the end I think I preferred it. It was quite interesting to read of a community willing to risk their safety and lives to help a stranger, just because it's the right thing to do. I liked that. And the relationships that Angel makes during the course of this slim book is really what kept me reading.
At the start of this story, Angel is fourteen and she's living with her mother and her mom's latest abusive boyfriend, Scotty. When Angel comes home to find her mother dead and Scotty intent on killing her, Angel flees for her life but she knows it's only a matter of time before Scotty catches up to her.
I really felt for Angel. She's pretty young and already she's gone through quite a bit. With a neglectful mother, she's had to look out for herself from an early age and there was no support or safety from the abuses of current and past boyfriends. Angel is a pretty tough character but it can be a bit heartbreaking to read of the things that have happened to her. Luckily for her, she stumbles onto a string of wonderful people willing to step in as the family Angel has never had. Despite immigration concerns and threats to personal safety, Angel is able to find a band of good people who have nothing and are still willing to share.
The danger surrounding Scotty was really interestingly done. There is a real sense that Angel is fighting a losing battle against this evil hunter who has the patience to wait her out and has Angel is no position to run or hide. It was very tense reading in certain places. A lot of this book did feel very bleak though, the writing style, the circumstances, the desert setting. This isn't a book that everyone will love, but I did enjoy it.