Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Promo and 5 Star Review ~ The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott ~ Excerpt

The Collector (Dante Walker #1)

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.

The Collector (Dante Walker #1) Review

I really loved this book. It has been one I have been wanting to read ever since I had read some teaser somewhere from the author. I will say, the first quarter of the book, I despised Dante; I didn’t like him at all. But, that all changes, Charlie, his assignment is what really changes him, and I loved this change. I don’t want to give away too much, so won’t tell too much of the story, but to tell you I loved it. If you’re someone like me, who loves Paranormal books, and like having some funny stuff too, then your going to love this book. It’s written so well too. I was sucked in right from the start, and could not put it down. The last part of the book will have you on the edge of your seat freaking out, I know it did me.

I can’t wait to read the next book. It does not end on a huge cliffhanger, just a few unanswered questions, but ones you want to know. I have a theory on one, but since it would be a spoiler, I can’t mention it.

I highly recommend this book. Give it a try, it’s a great change to be inside a guys head like this. Though I would have loved some from Charlie, or even Valery, who I also liked.

5 out of 5 stars. Don’t miss out on this one!

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

If you liked my review, would love the support at Amazon, by marking my review as helpful, Here.
Or Like it at Goodreads, Here.

Below is a few teasers that are spoiler free.

 “Name my car? No.”“Yes! Ooh, let me do it. How about Elizabeth Taylor? She was flashy and looked good in red.”“You want to name my car Elizabeth Taylor?”“Not want to. Did. It’s done.”I pull in a long breath. “Can you just tell me where Liz needs to go?”

(Dante talking to a cab driver, thought it was funny)

I point to his nappy beard. “You keep things in there?” He doesn’t respond. “Like candies or baby birds?”His jaw tightens. “You should think about it.” I dig my wallet out and pay the dude. 

Non-Spoiler Excerpt of Chapter One (its not very long, and first part is a short introduction I thought was cool)
What’s up, people. Name’s Dante.
Last summer, I met this chick in Chicago. Homegirl said she dug my red Chuck Taylors, and I dug her fashion sense. We got to talking and somehow, as the sun fell and night crawled over us, I told her...everything. I don’t know why it came out. But it did all the same. The chick, a writer it seemed, asked to share my story with the world, and for whatever reason, I agreed. It is what it is. Sometimes I like to gamble. That’s how I roll.
So this is it—my life, told by her hand. I guess this story was bound to leak one way or another. At least from me, you know you’re getting it straight.
That is, if you trust a demon.
- Dante Walker

I’m in a slump, off my game, throwing up bricks, swinging and missing. 
I’m having an off year.
My boss isn’t pleased, and he’s not the type of guy you want to piss off either. He’s the ultimate a-hole who doesn’t buy excuses, even the champion ones I’m slingin’. But, hey, it’s a job. And generally speaking, I’m damn good at it. 
I am The Collector. 
It’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m kinda like Santa Claus. We’re both jolly guys with a passion for frosted cookies, the color red…and sorting souls. My 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 I get the fun ones. 
Two years ago, I was just your average seventeenyear-old guy. That’s a lie. I’ve never been average. I look like a movie star and move like an athlete. That didn’t change when I kicked the bucket. It’s okay to be jealous, to covet me. It’s a delicious sin—tastes like chicken. But don’t envy my success as a collector. I earned it. Like Michael Jordan, I shot until I never missed. If there’s a bad soul anywhere on planet Earth, I can smell him out and turn him in. Bag-and-tag.
Boss Man runs the underworld, and I’m his number one guy up top. I’m so good, in fact, that I train the other five collectors on how to be more awesome. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the game: collect souls that are sealed.
Seals are our friends. I say it slowly, because patronizing people is fun.
It’s an easy gig. So easy, I’ve been bored lately. Maybe that’s why my numbers have slipped. But don’t fret. I got this. I’ve never met a hurdle I didn’t like. 
In fact, stumbling toward me is a herd of businesssuit clad men way too old to be this wasted. What are they even doing on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street? Being creepers, that’s what. A guy with Dumbo-sized ears breaks away from the pack and heads toward a girl half his age. His arms swing in great big circles until yellow liquid splashes from his plastic yardstick drink.
Way to bring your ‘A’ Game.
The girl turns toward her friend in an obvious attempt to avoid eye contact with Drunk Ogre Man. But no matter. He swings her around, shows her his colorful beads, and attempts to pull up her shirt. That’s the deal, right? Beads for boobs? Not this time. Homegirl slaps him and storms off, her heels click-clacking down the paved road. 
Ogre stares after her, and his friends howl with laughter. His red-rimmed eyes go big for a second, then he starts laughing, too. He got off pretty easy, all things considered. But we’re not done yet. Or better yet, I’m not done yet.
I gaze at the guy in a way only I can. A warm yellow light crawls over his skin and flickers. It almost appears as if his body is on fire. This light is his soul, and I can see the thumbnail sized rectangles called seals that partially obscure it. Seals come from being bad, or as I like to say, exciting. If I could come back from the dead, the things I would do. I’d go out with a bang. But I can’t. And unfortunately, collecting leaves little time for recreational activities, if you know what I mean. So I just keep punching the clock and doing what I do best.
Amidst the dude’s mini black seals, there are other seals. Our seals. Collector’s seals are bigger than the ones you get automatically when you sin, and therefore do a lot more damage. In order for Boss Man to know who’s done what, our seals are different colors, and already this guy looks like Rainbow Bright. Now he’ll have one more to add to his collection. I flick a finger and a sizzling red seal—the length of a human palm—attaches to his light. He didn’t feel a thing, but he certainly deserved it. His soul light dims just a little more than before. Once his light is completely covered, it’s over. Finis! We’ll collect his soul and bring it downstairs. I form my hand into a gun. “Pow!” 
Another one bites the dust.
Today, I’m playing my part on Team Hell like a heavyweight. The game works like a gas gauge. On one side is hell, on the other is heaven. That little orange bar tips back and forth between the two depending on who has the most souls. Collectors are Boss Man’s insurance policy that Big Guy (aka, lord of the heavens) doesn’t win, but he should chillax. No one ever gets the upper hand. If they did, it’d mean the gates of heaven, or hell, would spill open onto Earth.
Or some fairytale crap like that.
After Boob Man is gone, I stand in the doorway of the Cat’s Meow bar, watching people do the same things that led me to where I am now. This city is one of our standard posts. Since there are billions of people, and only six collectors, we have to concentrate on specific areas or we’ll never get anywhere. Most people go to Judgment Day, which may or may not mean eternity in hell, so Boss Man likes to bring them in before that happens if he can. And New Orleans, well, it’s one of the easiest places to make quota.
Seals fly from my fingertips with ease. I don’t have to think too hard about it, and for that, I’m thankful. I like this part of my job, the nameless faces. Collecting souls is nothing personal. I’m an equal-opportunity sealer. I’m not sure I could do it any other way.
But I guess I’m going to have to learn. I shove my hand into my pocket and rub the sleeping white envelope. I can almost feel it pressing against my thigh, as if it’s alive. As if it has tongue and teeth.
I spin around and see Max running toward me in a gray Armani shirt. “Dante. Oh, Dante. Seal me! Seal me so hard!” He grabs my hips and pumps his toward mine. “Oh, Dante! You’re so hot when you seal souls.” 
I shove my idiot-of-a-best-friend off me and laugh. Max dances around in a circle with one leg pulled up, and people move away as if he’s mentally unstable. He and I are the only collectors that like to remain visible to the living. The other four roll incognito. Max finishes his dance and brushes his shoulders off.
“What the hell was that?” I ask.
“My new move,” he says matter-of-factly.
My fellow collector is 6 years older than me but acts like he’s 13. We met a couple of years ago after he kicked the bucket and came on board. He talks so fast I have trouble understanding him sometimes. I like to think he was the World’s Best Car Salesman before he croaked.
Max spreads his arms out and gestures to his suit. “Hey, what do you think of my new threads?” The only thing Max likes better than money are the things money can buy.
“Not too bad.” 
“Not too bad?” He covers his heart in mock-offense. “Shit. This work of art is on the cover of GQ. Know what else? George Clooney wore this very suit to a party last weekend.”
“No, he didn’t.”
Max runs a hand over his clean-shaven jaw. “No. No, I guess he didn’t. Think anyone else would buy that? I might try it on the honeys tonight. Oh, check this crap out.” He reaches down and tugs his pant leg up. The gold cuff wrapped around his ankle is decorated with Smurf stickers. “One of the other collectors did this after I crashed last night. Can you believe that mess? I can’t get the damn things off.”
I roll my foot around, feeling my own cuff pinching my ankle. The heavy restraint enables collectors to walk the earth. It allows us to eat, breathe, and carry on a normal existence among the living. It also allows Boss Man and the other collectors to know where we are if they’re close by. A little Big Brother if you ask me, but then again, we’re given the option to remove it; if you call breaking off your cuff and dying a final death anoption. 
Max elbows me. “Who’re you fantasizing about?” 
“No one. I’m thinking about these damn cuffs. I wish there was a way to stay here without them.” Max doesn’t realize I know exactly where these cuffs came from. And I can’t tell him. The only reason I know is because Boss Man explained it while training me for my pending promotion. Maybe I shouldn’t be proud that the devil tells me his secrets. But I am.
“Well, there ain’t. So you can just get over that one, Pretty Boy.” Max rubs behind his neck and squints against the sun. “At least we’re able to get out of hell from time to time. Besides, why are you even tripping about it? Everyone knows you’re getting promoted to Soul Director. Then it’s permanent placement on earth, Hombre. It’s like you hit the Underworld jackpot. Speaking of jackpots, I feel like gambling. I’ve got the itch.” 
“I bet you’ve got the itch,” I say.
“You’re nasty, you know that? Just foul.” Max walks backwards away from me, bumping into people as he moves down the street. “You nasty, you nasty. You mama said you nasty!” And then he’s gone. Vanished into thin air.
I shake my head at his dramatic exit. I feel bad for not mentioning the envelope. But he’ll just make it into a big deal. I pull it out and stare at it. Inside is the name of my target: Charlie Cooper. Boss Man wants her soul, says he’ll forget my recent downslide if I deliver. This is unusual. He typically doesn’t pinpoint specific people, and I hate that it’s going to make things personal. But I’m not here to question, only to do my thang.
It's not like I have much of a choice. 
I’m on it, I told Boss Man when he’d handed me the envelope. Like white on rice. 
I didn’t say the last part. He wouldn’t appreciate the humor.


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