by Justine Dare

December 2002
ISBN: 0-451-41062-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Onyx
Mass Market Paperback

When a serial killer is targeting the abusers of a womenís shelter, Alex Court, the son of the benefactor is sent to protect the women from the nosiness of the police, the public, the media and their abusive partners.

Regan Keller, who runs the shelter and is not told of her new handymanís true identity, tries everything to protect her charges. Not easy, as not only doesnít she know what to expect next, but she also has to deal with cops who are not always as understanding and helpful as she hoped for. Whatís more, as the daughter of a police officer who was shot when he tried to apprehend an abuser and discovering the mutilated body of her abused best friend, she needs to deal with her contradicting feelings towards the Avenging Angel.

I know abused women and their battles are an important issue, but I feel Iíve seen it featured too often in recent romance releases. And like any storyline that has been overdone, it bores. It is obvious the subject is close to the authorís heart, but I wish she had just written an article and used her writing talent to entertain and not to preach.

Avenging Angel has not much of a romance in it either. Itís not even clear for a while if the characters like, respect or desire each other. And when it does come finally to the love scene, a scene that left me cold, it came across as very predictable and pseudo romantic.

And even though Ms Dare preaches independence, she shows women, even the main protagonists, willingly submit to the male of the species. Sure a strong shoulder to lean on is nice, but should you give up your own needs for it? Isnít there a compromise in there? Somewhere?

But as always in Justine Dareís books the research, with her very good understanding of police procedures and her chosen subject, is evident. Problem is, that this time it is not subtly incorporated and had me therefore easily distracted from the already uninteresting story.

And by the way, right from the get go I knew who the killer was. Shame! Iíve read better stories by this author and I do hope the next will demonstrate why I keep returning to her books.

Reviewed in January 2003 by Kris Alice.

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