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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dark Side of Purgatory - LJ Hadaway - Review/Giveaway


Author: LJ Hadaway

Format: Ebook provided by Bewitching Blog Tours for review


Everyone knows Jaxon Slater. He's the life-of-the-party guy. He's the fun guy we want to invite to our outdoor barbeques but not marry our daughters. He is our nephew, the next-door neighbor who drinks too much, a friend of a friend that overdosed on heroin. He's the class clown in high school that was always in trouble from drinking and driving.

Jaxon Slater has 'pushed the envelope' and tried to scam his way through most of his life. He's charismatic and good-looking. Many things come easy to Jaxon. Sobriety isn't one of them. He's tried staying clean numerous times but always falls into a relapse, using one more time. His long time sponsor had warned him plenty. His last use of heroin landed him dead--in Purgatory.

Jaxon believes he is having a terrible nightmare until he finds an old friend and recalls how he died. Reality sets in and Jaxon begins to learn the rules of the strange land. He runs into a mean bunch of guys and an unlikely guide. To have a chance at saving himself, he must complete a quest: find a certain young woman and steer her away from the highway of destruction that killed him.

Old temptations linger, and dark forces shadow his path. Can Jaxon survive the abyss of his deepest fears to find redemption?


This is a pretty dark story.  If anyone has ever been or known an addict, they will definitely identify with this, and parts of it might even be difficult to read.  To me that means this book is a great success, making the reader feel something even if it isn’t necessarily warm and fuzzy.  First level of this story is about a guy, Jaxon, who has died.  He is currently in purgatory and he has a “mission” to complete before he can proceed to what can only be assumed as is Heaven.  If he fails, well… down he goes. Second level to this story is the compounding factor is that Jaxon is an addict.  Alcohol and heroin have hurt him, his family and his friends for most of his life until they finally killed him for good and sending him into what he initially believes is a nightmare, but soon learns that his new reality is the actual nightmare. 

Jaxon wakes up after falling off the wagon and a one night stand with a petite blonde he met at the bar.  But something is off.  Maybe it’s the lack of movement around him, that strange smell, or the fact he was back in the old neighborhood.  Maybe it is because he is talking to his old friend, Shorts, who was decapitated on his bike years previous.  So Jaxon is…dead?  The scenery purposely lacks vibrant color, which in my opinion we often associate with joy.  There are no birds or butterflies, no children playing in the street, no sprinklers taking care of the lawns.  Everything is still and quite eerie.  This visual really grabbed me, made me feel like this was indeed Purgatory.   

Much of this story is Jaxon revisiting key points in his life.  Some of them are good, but most definitely are not.  Much in the way an addict has steps they need to accomplish before they finish treatment, Jaxon needs to go back and review these points to realize what happened and move past.  Some instances require forgiveness and some require realization.  At times it can be very emotional and sad.  But there are some good times, like a very sweet and tender moment involving his niece that gives me hope that all is not lost on Jaxon.  But much like an addict, he is his own worst enemy.

Jaxon is giving the task of “saving” someone on the living side of things.  A young girl, Dale, is on the edge of going the same path as he.  In my opinion her story was not as interesting as his, but then when everything comes together there is a light shown on everything that kind of makes you go “ahh!  Of course!”  The author did a wonderful job of weaving this whole story together and giving you enough surprises along the way to keep you interested and entertained.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  Parts were quite raw and depressing.  This is a story about an addict who hurts everyone around him, after all. I found reactions and situations to feel very true and real.  I think readers looking for something a bit different will enjoy this.  For me personally there were a few slow spots, but that can happen with any book.


You have a chance to win this book now, on Fictional Candy.  So fill out the Rafflecopter for your chance.  There is also a chance to win a print copy of this book for two lucky winners on a tourwide giveaway.  Make sure you enter for both giveaways!




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19 comments:

  1. Good on the author for taking on such an ambitious story.

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    1. I agree Susan. This isn't something a lot of authors tackle. But if it is done well, it can be quite a good read!

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  2. This looks like a pretty deep book. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

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  3. Sometimes I look for a book that challenges me. This is one of those books. We need to read about the darker side of people now and then.
    I was not able to get into my facebook to like this post. Still having trouble with it. But I do Like this!

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    1. Thank you Laura- It does have it's light moments- but I did want to put people inside a head of an addict--

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  4. Very nice review. The book sounds very intense.

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  5. This book seems to cross grenes can't wait to read

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    1. Thank you Leigh. I call it my addiction/recovery novel with a paranomal twist!

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  6. I love getting a hold of a dark story that has a light at the end of it.

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  7. Sounds like something i'd really enjoy although i probably wouldn't have thought to grab it if i'd seen it in my travels.
    Being in Australia i'm not sure i'm eligible for the print copies so hopefully i can win the e-copy!
    Kel xx

    lillie.rose.owen.jesse@gmail.com

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    1. Glad to hear from people from other counties!

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  8. this is definitely not my usual read, but sounds like something that would be worth reading once you get through the darkness and finding the light at the end.

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  9. Thank you so much for the review- and for all the comments by the readers. I loved writng Dark Side Of Purgatory. I wasn't sure if I could write it in a way- that the readers would connect witrh Jaxon- the addict. It's been exciting and interesting what people have gotten out of the story. Thank you all!
    Linda Hadaway

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  10. I like the fact that you mention it's a dark story. So many books are too light when their heroes are supposed to be dark and tortured.

    I just finished a book where a former lover of the heroine turns out to still be in love with her after he brutally dumps her. It was such a cop out that was obviously meant to please fans and gave the heroine a chance to dump him in return. It just didn't fit with his character or the situation.

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  11. This one sounds like a tough read, but I think it would be worth it! Plus I really enjoy books about what happens after death.

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  12. This sounds like a REALLY good book...also sounds like it's gonna pull on my heart a little and be hard to forget once I've put it down. But...the best ones usually are. Thx for this giveaway op! :)

    barbbattaglia @ yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you Barbara- It was my "heart" book- thank you for your interest!

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  13. Megan- yes- it has tough moments- but there are parts that you will laugh at- and touching moments too.

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