Death Angel: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Apr 28 2009
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“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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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
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.
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.
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.
This novel begins with a stunning surprise, and any reviewer who blows it for the reader should be strung up and beaten with a stick. So, with my hands now tied, I'll continue. I am at a loss how to express my admiration for Howard's unique stories. There are too many romantic suspense novels that read like mutated clones of movies you've already seen. Howard's books may contain elements we're all familiar with -- the gangster, the mistress, the killer -- but in her hands they're unpredictable, like nitroglycerin. The boom will come when you least expect it.
Nobody portrays a girl on the run like Howard (this is not her first effort, and I hope it's not her last either). Drea is like a mouse in the field, and the hawk circling above is going to make its kill. It is only a matter of time. The detailed escape Drea planned out sounded brilliant to me, but the assassin's ability to track her had me doubting whether any corner of our planet is truly invisible anymore.
After Drea's accident, she woke up in a hospital, finally safe from Rafael, but with no purpose in life. Her stolen millions felt tainted so she ignored the money, and started on a new path in life, the right one, the hard one. She starts to realize how truly evil Rafael is, and the idea of letting him piss all over the world unfettered is more than her new spirit can stand. She begins to plot against him when someone unexpected steps in.
I haven't alluded to it yet, but there is a strong romance within this story, and our hero remains a shadowy figure, even through the end. Drea's life is displayed like a watermelon that's been split open, every seed, every soft spot, and every vein is visible. But the man remains an enigma, and it injects his actions with a boogeyman-like fear. In the end, I accept that I never truly knew him, but I did not doubt his devotion to Drea, and that's all that mattered.