The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack


Good Intentions

Good Intentions by Elliot Kay

Good Intentions by Elliot Kay

One of the first things you’ll notice about the novel, Good Intentions by Elliott Kay, is that there is a lot of sex in these pages. By a lot, I mean something like 30% of the book (maybe more) revolves around steamy action and the contemplation of steamy action. Usually when this happens in a novel I find myself skimming pages trying to get back to the plot, yet in this case, the sex actually is instrumental to the story.

Good Intentions is about a young college student named Alex who stumbles upon a weird crime while he is taking photographs for an art class in a cemetery in the middle of the night. Three men have brutalized and are about to start raping two women. Alex steps in to help the women without realizing that the situation is much worse than he understands it to be. In the world of Good Intentions, magic is real and the would-be rapists are trying to bind an angel and a succubus to them through their black arts. Alex, thanks to his interference, accidentally receives the mystic bonds to the supernatural women.

Then things get weird. Rachel is a foul-mouthed angel looking to fight much more aggressively against the hordes of evil than the heavenly host currently favors. Lorelei is a three thousand year old evil temptress who is quite relieved to no longer be bound to her dark master. Alex is a basically good guy with a past that proves to be much more complicated than it would first appear. The binding of these three beings subtly changes the balance of supernatural power in the Seattle area and leads them and Alex’s friends into a salvation-or-damnation level fight with the local supernatural community.

What raises this book to five-star quality is the excellent character development and the slow and credible character growth, especially of the succubus, Lorelei. It sneaks up on you, but the book is worth reading for that aspect of it alone. Add in the hard-driving action, excellent supporting cast, fantastic surprises and general high quality of the writing and you have a book that will make you very happy there are sequels waiting to be read.

Natural Consequences by Elliot Kay

The sequel to Good Intentions is another exciting dive into the Seattle supernatural community. This time the FBI gets involved which causes unanticipated difficulties as our heroes seek to protect themselves from the hostile attention of vengeance-seeking vampires and werewolves determined to force Alex into their pack. Kay’s take on werewolves and their reason for existence was especially interesting. Alex’s difficulty in dealing with his past-life experiences also adds considerably to the strain the heroes face. But it’s the angelic politics that produce the best surprises of the book as members of the heavenly host fail to accept that Lorelei has ceased to play for the demonic team in the ongoing war between heaven and hell. The only reason I’m not giving this book five stars is that I felt that most of the sex scenes didn’t do much to advance the story and therefore should have been shorter, unlike in the first novel where they are absolutely essential to understanding the developing relationship between Alex, Lorelei and Rachel.

Personal Demons by Elliot Kay

The third book in the Good Intentions series maintains the high standards of the first two. The sorcerers of Seattle return to center stage and we learn that the magical practitioners have more than their fair share of dangerous kooks. The major villains in question are survivalists who have long predicted the end of the world—so much so that they’re taking actions to bring it about. Add in Lorelei’s ex-boyfriend, a psychologically abusive demon prince who styles himself the Angel of Death and you have more than enough trouble brewing to satisfy even the most ravenous appetite.

The book depends on separating Alex and Rachel from the rest of the cast. Alex, thanks to the combat experience he gained in his many violent past lives, is a pretty heavy hitter, and Rachel the angel is like a heavenly tank, so removing them from the central action gives Lorelei and the supporting cast some very welcome time in the combat spotlight. Kay doesn’t miss the opportunity, showing off the courage and talents of the supporting characters as they go head to head with demons and sorcerers in a battle for Seattle.

Lorelei’s commitment to walking her own path separate from the demons of hell is put to the test in a very clever fashion. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but again Kay impresses me with his ability to show this character grow. He also nicely foreshadows the problems of the next book through Alex’s extended misadventure. Overall Personal Demons is another superior effort.

Past Due by Elliot Kay

Once again, Elliot Kay has come up with a superb threat for his growing cast of heroes to deal with. This time it’s a family of sorcerers who have been running around for 3200 years, dying, getting reincarnated, and then locating each other so that they could awaken the original personality in its new body and continue with their long-frustrated plan to rule everything. The modern world has made them much stronger because they can now actually get to each other wherever they happen to be around the globe.

Alex, Rachel, and Loreli are alerted to this danger by the return of the jinn, Zafirah, to whom Alex owes a favor. Zafirah is an interesting character, known as the thief of heaven, she once successfully stole something from a heavenly library, but tends to come out slightly on the side of good. That doesn’t mean she is altruistic in her interest in this sorcerer family—she has her own agenda—but she also truly wants to see them stopped.

Once again the supporting heroes get a lot of screen time in this book, especially Onyx, who has a very good storyline. There is a major party in the middle of the book in which tons of bad guys have come together to plot the end of the world and frankly I thought the story dragged quite a bit for much of it, but the secrets revealed here make it worth hanging in there. The fate of the world is on the line, plus we discover the roots of yet another plot for future novels.

Perhaps the best thing to come out of this novel in terms of the overall series is the question of what is going on with the majority of the angel leadership. The Dominion of Vancouver chooses not to take action, allegedly because he doesn’t believe Loreli. His angels know that vampires, werewolves, and much much more are in Vancouver but choose to ignore this just as the original Dominion did in Seattle, and others do around the world. It really makes us wonder why so many Dominions are preventing the heavenly host from fighting back against all of the encroaching evil. It looks to me like Kay may be setting the stage for a second rebellion in heaven which I’m sure our heroes will be right in the middle of stopping.