WARNING: Do not start this book unless you have sometime, because it's a book you could sit down and read in one sitting it's so good. This book captured my attention from Chapter 1- It's HARD for a book to do that, but Linda Howard does accomplishes this in her latest book, Death Angel. I couldn't get through the pages quick enough. It's definitely a different story, and one that's a great read. She's given so much detail about Drea, that you feel really connected to her, which, sometimes you never get this close to the heroine. Bewareâ"in this book, the H/H do not spend a huge amount of time together, and for some that's a problem, but I enjoyed the story so much, I didn't see it as a problem!
I read a few reviews of this book today and was very excited at first because I didn't know that Linda Howard had anything new out! After reading the reviews I was a bit hesitant to buy it (it's in HC). A few of the reviews were not very flattering, but she is on of my all time favorite authors (she is the ONLY book on my keeper shelf right now, no joke! "Mr. Perfect" in hardback!) and even though I had been a bit disappointed with the last few things she'd written I was looking forward to reading this. Luckily I found this book on the shelf at the library and snatched it up. I am GLAD I did. The heroine and hero are two of the most flawed main characters I have ever read about, but Linda Howard makes them work and make you want the HEA for them. You start out with no sympathy for Andie; she got herself into the situation she was in by only thinking of herself, no matter the act she put on and wasn't really surprised when she was treated like a commodity. This being "romantic" suspense of course the hero was a "good guy", just not your typical white knight. As he said in the book, he was what he was and he did what he did, no excuses. Both of them are redeemable and Linda managed to get them to their HEA after all. Wish there had been a little bit more of the hero's background, and I wish the climax had been expanded more, but all in all this was a good book and will go on my fav's list if not my keeper shelf.
Admittedly this was a strange sort of couple for something that would classify as romantic suspense. They were both generally unsympathetic at the start of the story, but I have to say, the romance and the characters grew on me. In many ways very touching in the style of some of Howard's best romances and left you to feel that these two people were more nearly whole together than apart.
In Linda Howard's gifted hands, second chances, unexpected romance, and unrelenting action combine into a riveting new novel of suspense. In Death Angel, bad girls can wake up and trust their hearts, bad guys can fight for what's right . . . and dying just might be the only way to change one's life.
A striking beauty with a taste for diamonds and dangerous men, Drea Rousseau is more than content to be arm candy for Rafael Salinas, a notorious crime lord who deals with betrayal through quick and treacherous means: a bullet to the back of the head, a blade across the neck, an incendiary device beneath a car. Eager to break with Rafael, Drea makes a fateful decision and a desperate move, stealing a mountain of cash from the malicious killer. After all, an escape needs to be financed.
Though Drea runs, Salinas knows she can't hideâ"and he dispatches a cold-blooded assassin in hot pursuit, resulting in a tragic turn of events. Or does it?
Left for dead, Drea miraculously returns to the realm of the living a changed woman. She's no longer shallow and selfish, no longer steals or cheats or sells herself short. Both humbled and thrilled with this unexpected second chance, Drea embraces her new life. But in order to feel safe and soundâ"and stop nervously looking over her shoulderâ"she will need to take down those who marked her for death.
Joining forces with the FBI, supplying vital inside information that only she can provide, Drea finds herself working with the most dangerous man she's ever known. Yet the closer they get to danger, the more intense their feelings for each other become, and the more Drea realizes that the cost of her new life may be her life itselfâ"as well as her heart.
Drea Rousseau is sick of being a drug lord's plaything. Sure, it's nice not having to do anything more than watch the home shopping network and look pretty, but the whole playing dumb thing gets old kind of fast. Drea's boyfriend, Rafael Salinas, is a drug dealer, a criminal, and an unrepentant sinner whose method of solving problems runs more toward hitmen than mediation. And for a while Drea was content to sit by his side and play the part of the gangster's moll. For two years she played her part flawlessly, biding her time until she could leave him with her jewelry and dignity intact. She knows that Rafael doesn't love her, but she thought he at least cared about her some. But when he trades her body for a hitman's services, she learns that she was wrong. And though the hours she spends in the arms of a cold-blooded killer shouldn't matter to a girl whose boyfriend sells drugs for a living, Drea expected more. And when she doesn't get it, she chooses revenge instead. Siphoning two million dollars from Rafael's accounts, Drea runs for her life. She plans to start all over again in middle America where Rafael can't find her. Only she doesn't expect that he'll send the one man after her who she can't escape--the hitman whose touch she craves even as she runs from it.
I've heard a lot of talk on romance boards over the past few years saying that Linda Howard has lost her touch and that her newer books aren't as good as the old ones. Well, with Death Angel, she's proving her critics wrong. This book was fantastic, and quite possibly my favorite of all her works (though After the Night is still pretty high on my list). The hitman (Simon, whose name I neglected to mention because you don't find it out until later in the story) is a quintessential Howard hero. He's all militaristic stealth and alpha male aggression combined with protective lover and guardian of the innocent. In other words, everything you could want in a hero. At times he seems remote, distant, and unsure of himself, and you don't know if this is the sort of hero you can root for. But when he goes after Drea it isn't with any malice and at the same time he's hunting her he's cheering her on for giving Salinas a taste of his own medicine. And Drea is of the nouveau class of Howard heroines. At one time they were dumb as doornails (think Mary in Mackenzie's Mountain), but now it's like Howard has realized it's okay for a girl to have both beauty and brains. And Drea has them both in spades. This is a girl who plays dumb for two years while she secretly stores account numbers and exchanges real diamonds for fake ones. Drea doesn't delude herself into thinking she has an infinite amount of time with Rafael. In fact, she knows the moment someone prettier and younger catches his eye that she'll be out the door. Which is why she has her contingency plan. In fact, the only reason she takes Rafael to the cleaners is that he proves to her that she means nothing to him, so she decides to take what she thinks she's worth. And I was cheering for her even as I hoped Simon wouldn't catch her.
And all of this is without even mentioning the chemistry between these two characters, which virtually sizzles off the pages. From the moment they touch, the temperature went up in my apartment, and it didn't go down at any point when the two of them were together. I can't remember the last time I've been so emotionally invested and intently engaged by a book--particularly romantic suspense. Linda Howard is the reigning queen of the genre and Death Angel is just another weapon in her arsenal that proves why she got the title.