The novel is as dark as the blurb would suggest, and has a perpetual feel of helplessness threaded through the narrative. Although slow and awkward to start, the story itself is compelling, and makes you want to keep reading, and Tusa is a wordsmith, who's metaphors in particular, are superb and add to the reading pleasure. However, the violence and profanity, at times, detracts from, rather than adds to the stories, and this, despite it's length, is not a Young Adult novel due to the content. The background of the character is a real strength of the writing, and Tusa gives a very realistic description of a family spilt by depression and addiction. At a few points, the characters seem almost 2D, with stereotypical responses and a needy/greedy voice, this jars you as a reader, but this type of characterisation is in the minority in the book, and is countered by the realistic and believable character portrayals in the rest of the novel.
Overall, this is a well crafted novel that in places is let down by characterisation and an over-zealous approach to violence (particularly towards animals) and profanity. I enjoyed the journey the book took me on, although I was let down by the lack of happy ending, which leaves you with a slightly depressed feeling.
Dirty Little Angels is available from Amazon UK for £5.54, Amazon US for $9.15 and from Smashwords for $4.99
[Dirty Little Angels was obtained through a giveaway on LibraryThing]