If asked "Who has been disappointed by Linda Howard's latest hardcover novels, raise your hand?" mine would've been the first one to shoot into the air. However, Linda Howard is one of the most versatile authors out there and she has written some of my very favorite books, so when given the opportunity to read this book, I jumped at the chance. I thought it was great! Her last few books have focused too much on the details and/or the unbelievable plots and left characters to fall by the wayside. Not so with Death Angel. Yes, there are a lot of details and the plot is unbelievable at times, but the way the story is put together is one heck of a ride. I couldn't stop turning the pages.
When reading the summary, I wasn't sure I would like Drea. Who would be interested in a drug runners arm candy? So I was more than a little surprised when I was actually sympathizing with her from the first chapter. She is a very layered heroine and it was so interesting to watch the evolution of her character. She is most definitely arm candy by the very definition of the phrase for the first part of the book, but she is also very cunning, conniving and street smart - a fact that is shown more than once as she plays the role of girlfriend to Rafael Salinas (a role that he buys into wholeheartedly).
This book doesn't skimp on the details of Drea's situation or how she gets out of it, but unlike last year's 'Up Close and Dangerous', the details add to the story instead of taking away from it.
This isn't a love story in the traditional sense of the word, but there is a love story in it. It's a very female-driven plot (think of 'Son of the Morning' or 'Cry No More' - the story in no way resembles these two books, but the layout of the plot and the heroine doing anything and everything she can to survive is what reminded me of those two, as well as the relationship between the hero/heroine - not a lot of page time, but it's worthwhile when they are together).
That being said, it won't be for everyone. There is a small paranormal aspect to it that some people probably won't like. I enjoyed it and others will as well, but not everyone. It's a very small aspect of the story (less than 25 pages) but very pivotal, so don't let that sway you either way in buying the book or not buying it.
The hero is definitely her darkest yet. The baddest of her bad boys and one of my new favorites. He's known for several chapters as nothing but 'the assassin' which set him apart from her other heroes at the first mention of him. The heroine was strong and smart with a soft side that draws the reader (or at least this reader) in from the very beginning. It starts off with a bang (literally) and the pace rarely slows down until the end.
Is it as good as some of Linda Howard's novels? No. But it is one of the best books I've read this year and I'm so relieved to see she hasn't lost her edge. It's definitely LH's best hardcover in the last five years or more. Without question, I will be buying her next book in HC, and looking forward to it.