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Death Angel: A Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Linda Howard
1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 28 2009
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 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.

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Product Description


“The Howard name is synonymous with amazing entertainment.”—Romantic Times

“A darkly romantic book of second chances and intrigue, as well as hot assassins.”—Parkersburg News and Sentinel

“Linda Howard is a superbly original writer.”—Iris Johansen

About the Author

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

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Customer Reviews

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wow, does that suck July 25 2008
I have been a fan of Linda Howard's book for awhile now. Linda has been writing for a very long time, but her stories seem to have progessed with the times.

Until now.

Drea lives with a *bad* guy. The books opens with him making a deal with an assassin. To seal the deal, the assassin demands sex with Drea. The *bad* guy complies and leaves Drea alone with the assassin.

In the 80s, rape fantasy seemed to be a huge part of story telling in romance novels. I honestly thought that authors had gotten past this and realized that it is not every woman's fantasy to be raped.

The books launches into a 19 page description of their sex. Was it lustful? Yes. Was he a giving lover? Yes. Did she want him in the end? Yes. Was it rape?


Could she say no? No. Could she walk away? No. Did she have a choice? No.

Jeez already! Enough! Women writers should know better by now, especially women writers. Even better! By the end of the 19 pages? She is begging him to take her with him.

Now, I am sure that if I continued to read the book, I would learn that they somehow meet up again and fall in love and blah, blah, blah.

It was rape. It wasn't consensual. She was forced to do it.

I know I have written that word too many times, but I am so tired of female writers writing this junk! This was also a huge fantasy that soap operas in the 80s liked to incorperate into their storylines. Sure, the big brute raped her at first, but later she came to love him. He was troubled, so it was o.k.

I cannot imagine, in the real world, any woman ever being raped by a man and later loving him, unless she was mentally unbalanced.

Anyway, I stopped reading the book at that point. I have nothing to recommend about this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Eh June 2 2009
By Re
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am usually a very big fan of Linda Howard but I have to say that I was really disappointed in this book. It was not up to her usual standards at all. It was interesting but it did not seem to flow quite like her better books have and the emotions that she is good at stirring up was very absent when I read this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  218 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.-Jim Morrison Oct. 6 2008
By Cherise Everhard - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Drea Rousseau has not lived a good life. At a very young age she learned about heartache and as a result has gone through great lengths to make sure she would never feel that again. Using her wits and her body she has spent her years manipulating men into getting what she wants and playing whatever role is needed.

As an arm-charm to a ruthless drug lord and criminal, Drea thought she had it pretty good. She had no delusions about what their relationship was or was not, she was just taking one day at a time always knowing the end was coming. One afternoon he surprises her by treating her rather callously and for Drea that makes the end of their relationship come a lot sooner than expected.

But even as she makes her escape life throws yet another monkey wrench in the works and Drea's life and outlook is irrevocably changed, forever. What once seemed so important isn't anymore and she works hard to make every moment of this second chance count.

I thought this book was incredible; filled with twists and turns and completely unpredictable. From page one it was clear that this tale was going to be daringly different from any other romantic suspense novel I have read. The two main characters aren't nice people and I really shouldn't have cared for either one, but the way they are written, despite their flaws, I felt and fell for both. These aren't two people that you expect to be stars in a romance novel, but it is their unique characters that make this book so great. Both had led shallow and selfish existences and aren't very apologetic about it. But with the second chance that Drea faces, they both rediscover life, one another and are struck by the power of love.

Truly a wonderful story filled with some heartbreaking, fantastic and miraculous moments; I loved ever word of it.

Cherise Everhard October 2008
109 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Linda Howard in Years!!! July 4 2008
By Elaine C McTyer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is truly a story of redeeming love, and I loved it. Linda Howard has taken some truly unlikeable characters and because of a life changing miracle given us two truly memorable characters. The first few chapters led me to believe it was like some of her other books and I started to put it down. But the cover said something about a miracle so I kept reading and am I glad I did.

Drea Rousseau is the mistress of a mobster. She is smart enough to act very dumb. She was raised poor and determined to have the best in life she could get. She has been his mistress for two years. At the age of 15 she got pregnant and when she lost the baby she lost her self. That was when she decided to go for everything she wanted. Using her body and her wits she has climbed to the penthouse of a mobster.

The assassin is unknown and we don't learn his name until the end of the book. The mobster uses him for the most deadly hits on his competitors. He always gets the job done and his very cold deadly glance gives even Salinas cold chills.

As the book starts he is facing Salinas, who wants to give him a bonus for his good work. A hundred thousand extra dollars, but the assassin asks for Drea for one time. He is testing how far Salinas will go to humor him. Drea considers herself a mistress not a ho. Now however she can't believe Salinas will give her to this man.

Drea spends four hours with the assassin and her life is changed in ways she doesn't understand. She asks him to take her with him, but he laughs and leaves. At that time her hatred for Salinas is unstoppable and she puts her get away plans into motion.

Salinas naturally calls on the assassin to take her out. From this point on I could not put it down. It is truly one of the best books by Howard I have read in many yrs. Do not miss this one.
50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars July 1 2008
By Ashlee - Published on
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.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks Character Development Nov. 13 2008
By Lady Action Fan - Published on
2.5 stars, I think.

I should preface this review with two qualifiers. First, I'm not a diehard Linda Howard fan nor hater. I have no expectations, good or bad, when I see a book by her. I look at the synopsis, if I'm interested I read. If I'm not, I don't.

Second, I like flawed, less-than-perfect characters. Those who inhabit a world of grey rather than black or white and right or wrong. Some are considered anti-heroes. Others are sociopaths. Some are both. On occasion, even outright pure evil can can be appealing. So I had no problem with the protagonists being a killer and a, well, bimbo.

I think I've read a total of six of Howard novels, including this one. Two I've loved. One, I thought was just okay. Two others, I couldn't get into enough to finish. DEATH ANGEL falls somewhere in between the latter two categories.

It was pretty good up to the point where Drea "died", even though it got bogged down with way too much information about moving money. After this point, I was so not interested I basically skimmed the remainder of the book. Things picked up some when "Simon" revealed himself, but Howard had lost me with the near death experience and redemption theme. (What was so wrong with them before?)

But DEATH ANGEL has a bigger problems than a flawed theme - lack of character development and what there is makes little sense.

Why Drea flips out at being "given away" makes no sense. Yeah, being upset, makes sense. Getting so angry and wanting such great revenge doesn't. She was in the relationship with Salinas for what she could get. From her own thoughts, she made no pretense of being in love with him. She didn't even seem to like him much. She knew he didn't think much of her. That was her "plan", play dumb. She was arm candy just like she intended. He "gave her away", so what? They were both just playing their self-imposed roles. Feelings of humiliation and anger, I understand. So angry, she needed to "hit him where it hurts." Why? He ultimately owed her nothing just as she owed him nothing. She got the shopping and living in the lap of luxury, he got arm candy and laid. Payment for services rendered had been exchanged.

Drea's sudden change of heart after 4 hours of sex, even great sex, made even less sense. Fifteen years of clawing her way to something better was suddenly tossed out the window after a few orgasms? Huh? I get great chemistry and the desire to connect on a deeper level with a man, but "the assassin" was that man? The assassin, whom she liked even less than Salinas? That made no sense for such a "street smart" and calculating woman. Drea, if nothing else, was a realist, except when it came to this plot point. So it felt contrived.

An even greater tragedy was Howard's extreme lack of development of "Simon". He was half the story, yet we got absolutely no glimpse into what made him tick except a couple of sentences on the last few pages. No feeling as to why such a careful, calculating, practically-self-admitted sociopath would be capable of turning his life upside down for this woman. Sorry, "skin chemistry", as he called just didn't cut it. Simon could be a stick figure (one into tantric sex) for all the depth he had. (Oh yeah, four hours of sex and his final "release" was depicted like an after thought. Kind of a let down, no pun intended.)

It's unfortunate. This novel could have been some much better if it had been more about the characters involved.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One dark read, but worth giving a chance. Aug. 11 2008
By Krista - Published on
***Minor spoilers included***

Ok, first of all whoever wrote the synopsis that is on the dust-jacket, obviously didn't read the book... The book is 341 pages long and she doesn't go talk to the FBI until page 293! So yeah she never joins forces with them so don't hold your breath like I nearly did.

I actually liked this book.

Was it her old style? Nope.
Was it better than Cover of Night (aka Worst. Book. Ever)? Yes.
Was it a survival manual like Up Close and Dangerous? No (Thank God!)
Did it have card board characters like Killing Time? No!

But don't look for humor. Because you will not find ANY. I would compare it to Cry No More, a darker read - filled with a lot of emotions.

Simon (the Hero - although I use that word hesitantly here - he's an ASSASSIAN for one thing) is a lot like Diaz (the hero from Cry No More.) Strong, very silent type who gets things done and makes no apologies for how he gets them done. But whereas Diaz had the whole "working for the government" thing going for him. Simon is just bad. B.A.D. He was almost to the point of "sociopath crazy man" but luckily when he thinks Drea died he feels remorse and then later is beyond overjoyed to learn she survived (there's a very touching scene that happens)

I feel he redeemed himself as much as he was able to and I like the fact that Linda Howard didn't turn him into a good guy overnight. Simon admits he'll never be like "normal" people but he'll try to be as close to one as possible for Drea. (Unless, you know, she's threatened - then all bets are off and he's pulling out the guns.)

I liked Drea. I didn't want to at first. She was the arm candy of a crime lord after all, but once you learn her background it makes sense that she wants to focus only on herself - avoid meaningful relationships - and have lots and lots of money. When the crime lord does something beyond offending to her, she exacts her revenge. And yay for the fact that Drea is SMART! Not only are we told she's smart but she actually ACTS smart. Sure Simon is proven to be more cunning when it comes to tracking people down, but he's an assassin, that's his job. As a civilian I thought Drea did a good job running, stealing 2 mil from the crime lord and surviving on her own.

Drea and Simon have an instant connection (be prepared to have your eye balls nearly scorched off at around page 10 and I am so not kidding!) I was a little unsure of what my reaction was supposed to be so early on. And I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the beginning. Part confused, with a little bit of an icky feeling thrown in, and a lot of Wow!

Later their connection grows. They don't technically spend a whole lot of time together, but they are constantly thinking of each other. This part of the plot relies heavily on the reader assuming these two are "meant to be together" and I'm so used to that by now it only annoyed me a little bit. But I really did feel a connection between them, in Drea's thoughts and in Simon's actions. Do I think they'll have a HEA forever and ever. Eh maybe. I still think Simon needs counseling.

Drea's death was interesting. And different. Not sure what I was expecting but I went with it. It causes Drea to take a hard look at who she had become and she does a complete 180. Which let's be frank, was definitely for the best.

Then there was a random thing about her having visions, and that plot point went nowhere fast I'm really not even sure why it was included. I'm all for paranormal touches (loved Dream Man and Now You See Her) but really why include something, rarely mention it, and then not even have it effect anything in the plot.

The end was abrupt and very predictable. I was disappointed by how anticlimactic it was (especially given the crappy synopsis on the book flap).

Worth reading IMO but still not near what her books used to be.
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