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Book CoverLauraD’s review of Death Angel by Linda Howard
Romantic suspense released by Ballantine 1 Jul 08

Linda Howard’s last hardcover release was more mountain survival guide than romance, so I had some trepidation about buying her latest before the Big Box store had time to put their new release discount stamp on it. But yea! Linda Howard is back in fine form and I got to spend a perfect summer day off work camped in front of the AC unit reading Death Angel nonstop from cover to cover.

Drea Rousseau, born Andrea Butts, has carefully cultivated the image of a beautiful, brainless piece of arm candy and become the bedroom playmate of Rafael Salinas, a notorious drug importer. She’s counting on a few more years with Rafael, collecting gifts of expensive jewelry to finance her inevitable retirement. Simon is an assassin for hire, and the wild card Drea didn’t count on. When Rafael barters her for Simon’s good will, she’s shocked to realize that her brief time with Simon has changed her and left her unable to continue her relationship with Rafael. So Drea steals over 2 million dollars from the drug lord, and runs.

Death Angel is tightly written and very fast paced. Drea’s initial escape from Rafael is an adrenaline buzz, though detailed enough to make me feel like I could see it as it happened. I really liked her character. Along with a name change or two, she changes significantly as a person during the events in Death Angel. One happening might be a deal-breaker for some readers, but I felt like somehow Linda Howard pulled off what another writer might have fumbled quite badly.

Simon isn’t going to be for the reader who needs a knight for a hero. Tall, dark, handsome; and an unrepentant assassin. To me, it again shows Linda Howard’s strength as a romance writer that I could believe in this guy as the hero and love interest of the book. Her contemporary romantic suspense has sometimes included characters of moral ambiguity, but Simon has got to be near the front of that particular pack. Does he redeem himself? That’s a question every reader is going to have to decide for themselves.

Death Angel is a great mix of romance and action. Part road romance, part thriller, all good fun summer buzz. There will probably be readers who don’t like this book, I can see where some issues might be based. Bottom line, I am betting you’ll like Death Angel as much as I did. I’m going to put my copy on the keeper shelf, just as soon as I read it again!

laurad_opt1.jpgGrade: A+

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 hide-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 sound-and stop nervously looking over her shoulder-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 itself-as well as her heart.