Guardian Angel


Fiction - Short Story/Novela
182 Pages
Reviewed on 01/15/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

SK Sutphen grew up in the straightforward and pragmatic Midwest states of South Dakota and Wisconsin. She loved the library, and the books that let her look into peoples' lives in faraway locations. Her sisters often asked for bedtimes stories, and she made up characters and put them in situations to make her sisters squeal with fear or giggle at silly antics. While reading novels across different genres, she sometimes though about writing one, too.

SK Sutphen lives most of her life as Sussan Sutphen. She graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin and lived and work in the Midwest for many years as a physician before relocating to Atlanta, GA, away from the cold and snow. She earned a masters in professional writing from Kennesaw State University and is a freelance medical writer. Sutphen has had three short stories published - "Delivery" in Atlanta Medicine and "Night Bus" and "Jimmy" in Borderlines: A Collection of Short Stories. Guardian Angel is her first novella, and she is at work on her next book. When not writing, she enjoys home tours and helping her husband as his interior design assistant where her research skills come in handy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Storch is definitely on the point of taking his own life when he realizes it’s only a matter of time before the FBI arrests him. He knows when the truth all comes out about his money-making activities, he’ll live out his life in a federal prison. But years back in his business dealings, he selected a “fall guy” as his partner. All fingers will point to him instead of Storch. But the real brains behind Storch’s activities, his closest confidante and the one monitoring the big money and the profits, is Connie. As Connie quickly vanishes with her incriminating computer, the FBI raid Storch’s premises.

But just before the ensuing chaos, and as Storch holds a gun to his head, his guardian angel, Oriel, appears. Oriel points out his actual death is imminent…in just a few days in fact. Oriel tells him his new future is in his hands but he must make reparation to all those he has used and misused on his way to financial success if he is to be happy after death. Of course, Storch thinks this is all BS, but Oriel’s ominous voice and magical appearances and disappearances nag at him incessantly. Bit by bit, the reader learns how Storch became the insensitive magnate he is, and how and why Connie plays a significant role in his life and business. As Storch’s death nears, against both his lawyer’s and Connie’s advice, he makes the most important decision of his life, and this time, it’s not “always about the money”.

Being a non-believer, choosing to read a book with a title like Guardian Angel was most unusual for me. But, as I scanned the intriguing description and the first chapter, my curiosity was aroused: just what had brought someone like Joseph Storch, the protagonist, to want to commit suicide? Suspending my lack of belief in angels, I felt compelled to read this rather brilliant novella by SK Sutphen. My curiosity and time were richly rewarded with one of the best reads I’ve enjoyed in a while. This is a beautifully written book, a clever blend of literary and psychological crime fiction. Readers are as caught up in the characters of Storch and Connie as they are in the suspenseful plot. SK Sutphen’s style is direct, tight, wasting no words on unessential details. Dialogue is plentiful, well-executed, and character revealing. The result? A short, intelligent and thought-provoking read that might even make non-believers question their stance on angels. Do we really all have a Guardian Angel? If not, maybe we need one!

Deborah Lloyd

Joseph Storch’s life was falling apart, and he considered ending it. When his guardian angel, Oriel, appeared and gave him the opportunity to make decisions considerate of others, Joe faced new challenges. He seemed to have it all – a successful financial services company, a large home in the hills of Los Angeles and a beautiful wife, Maria. When FBI agents showed up at the office with search warrants, his world came crashing down. His partner, Gordon Steele, was arrested for arms dealing and money laundering. It was soon apparent that Joe and his assistant, Connie Fradulen, had developed a plan in the event that the company’s criminal activities were discovered. Oriel continued to appear to Joe, urging him to find his redemption. As the story unfolds, more background information is given, and the ending is certainly unexpected.

Author SK Sutphen has written a fast-paced, exciting novella in Guardian Angel. The plot of this short novel is intriguing and entertaining, and yet may challenge readers in unforeseen ways. There is a full cast of characters, and their motivations and actions are well developed. There is a thought-provoking depth to the story, more complex and comprehensive than many fictional works. The book engages the reader from the first page to the last. The author has skillfully crafted this easy-to-read story. Guardian Angel by SK Sutphen is a fascinating tale. While it can be read relatively quickly, do not be fooled – this is a book that will not be soon forgotten by the reader. A true gem!

Divine Zape

From the outside, Joseph Storch is a very successful man — with a beautiful wife, a successful business, and a mansion. On the inside, he is a man who lives in fear, because his wealth has been acquired through corrupt means. When the truth about the fraud he has used to grow his business comes out, he is ready to take his own life. It is then that his Guardian Angel visits him with a startling revelation. Joseph doesn’t need to take his own life because his days are numbered. In fact, he only has a week to live. What can he do with the little time left to him? Redeem his soul by doing something meaningful or trying the easy way out? Guardian Angel by SK Sutphen is a beautiful short story with powerful spiritual themes. The book poses an important question with an answer that will surprise readers.

The narrative begins with a dramatic moment. A man awakened to reality by a sudden, unfamiliar voice that stops him from committing suicide. “The unexpected voice, deep and musical, makes Joseph Storch pause. His finger edges away from the trigger, as if reluctant to change course.” This encounter sets the pace, the tone, and the pulse of this story. The reader’s curiosity is aroused as they want to know why the protagonist wants to take his own life. The author uses this moment to introduce the relationship between the protagonist, a man who has never for a moment considered how his actions affect other people, and the Angel. Guardian Angel has strong psychological underpinnings and it explores one of the deepest fears that haunt the human spirit, the fear of having gained everything to just lose it all in a quick moment. SK Sutphen succeeds in keeping readers engaged, thanks to the strong narrative voice and the deeper meaning of the story.