by Jessica Hall

May 2003
ISBN: 0-451-20852-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

In The Steel Caress, the second book in the White Tiger Sword trilogy, the most beautiful woman of the world is Raven, a model and former undercover agent. Raven has successfully risen from the ashes of her last undercover assignment, the assignment that sent her into certain death. Now years later she is none too happy when her former boss and lover, General Kalen Grady, demands her help in bringing down one of the most dangerous Chinese-American crime families.

On a mission to find and kill the one responsible for her near death experience and thinking him to be connected to Kalenís case, but unwilling to team up with Kalen, she tries to escape him. She is strong and more than capable of achieving her objective. But Kalen, believing her to be a traitor, is keeping her close Ė too close?

So their relationship is not an easy one. Looking beneath surfaces and discovering that looks can be deceiving, their shared history makes it very difficult to concentrate on the job. And so to the charactersí and my satisfaction The Steel Caress brings further proof of Jessica Hallís talent for writing mind-blowing and breathtaking sexual and sensual tension. However, as I found Raven and Kalenís relationship in The Deepest Edge more exciting and powerful, Iíd like to urge readers interested in The Steel Caress to read the trilogy in order. It allows for a more rounded and comprehensive story experience.

Not as intriguing as The Deepest Edge - Iím missing the many interesting facts about Japanese and Chinese culture, that I so loved about the first book - The Steel Caress is still an exciting romantic suspense. Itís fast paced, maybe even a little rushed sometimes. Itís entertaining but sadly at times a little too shallow. However, itís still a good read and definitely a lot of fun. Itís well researched, showing aspects of American culture that I wasnít familiar with. Itís different in the cultural themes and diversities Jessica Hall chose to focus on, and for that reason alone itís worth reading. Iím looking forward to the final book in this trilogy, The Kissing Blade.

Reviewed in June 2003 by Kris Alice.

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